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.

November 18, 2016--Week 66

Dear loved ones,

Thank you so much for your fasting and prayers!  There were a lot of people fasting yesterday—and I truly believe in the collective power of the faithful when united in a joint purpose.  As a result, we’ve been blessed with a couple of specific miracles.  Yesterday afternoon, I received a text from Sister Goddard, the mission nurse.  She forwarded me a text from Jacob which read:

“Sister Goddard, Another update:  Since about 11:00 this morning, my vision has rapidly been returning to the point that I can almost see back to normal.  I don’t know what is happening, but it is a miracle so far. —Elder NIckerl”

This afternoon, Sister Goddard updated me again to let me know that today Jacob texted her to let her know that he was able to put his contact in his eye as usual, can see, and that he’s back to work as normal.  

We also had an additional miracle when we found that with some convincing, our insurance will cover the cornea specialist that Jacob saw Monday.  He is a very well-respected physician, is the head medical director for the State of New Jersey Eye Bank, is a professor at Rutgers Medical School, and leads some of the most cutting edge cornea research on the East Coast—and Jacob loved and trusted him.  I don’t think it’s coincidental that Jacob was matched with this doctor by the emergency room last Saturday and that his office is only a few blocks from where Jacob lives.  

We can see the hand of God in so many ways this week.  Thank you, thank you for your prayers.  Angela

November 16, 2016--Week 66

Dear family and friends,

Instead of a group email, I’m forwarding the email that Jacob sent to just me this afternoon. Additionally, I’d like to share the details of what’s happening with Jacob right now and ask for your fasting and prayers.  

As most of you know, when Jacob was 12 years old he was diagnosed with a degenerative cornea disorder called Keratoconus.  When he was 13 he underwent a corneal transplant in his right eye.  Since that time he’s had several surgeries in his left eye—trying to keep that eye from going to transplant.  Anyway, he’s been blessed with good health and corrected vision for several years and has been able to lead a very normal life.  

Last Saturday morning, life changed for Jacob when he woke up with no vision in his right eye.  He’s a smart guy and knew exactly what was happening.  He asked for a blessing and then headed to the emergency room where after lots of hours and several doctors, it was confirmed that the endothelial layer of cells in his cornea are rejecting and detaching from his eye.  Unfortunately, it is normal that when rejections occur, they happen that quickly (literally overnight).  The ophthalmologist sent Jacob home with some heavy duty anti-rejection eye drops and asked for him to come back in today. This afternoon, Jacob saw the cornea specialist who confirmed that the eye is rejecting the transplanted tissue.  

So, what does this mean?  The doctor wants Jacob to try the drops for one more week before any decisions are made.  He said that in a few rare cases, he’s seen rejections reverse—but it will literally be a miracle.  He said that likely Jacob will need another transplant to correct his vision.  Over the next week or two, many decisions will be made about Jacob staying on his mission, pushing through the last eight months with little vision, having surgery while in the field, or coming home for treatment.  As you can see from Jacob’s email below, he does not want to come home.  He also doesn’t want to be a burden to companions or his mission president.  As we all know, having missionaries come home early for any reason, can be an emotional deal.  

Jason and I will be fasting for Jacob on Wednesday, November 16th.  We would invite anyone that wants to join us to participate in a fast for Jacob, the doctors, and the mission president.  Please also include him in your prayers.  

Thanks in advance!  We love you all—and we love this young man that wants so desperately to serve the Lord and the people of New Jersey!


Hey Mom,

I am sure that Sister Goddard told you already, but this morning the cornea specialist that I needed to see was not there. He will be there at 3:00 my time and I will go see him. The drops don't seem to be doing a whole lot. My vision is just as blind in my right eye as it was on Saturday. I am honestly having a pretty hard time with it all. When I asked for a blessing on Saturday morning, I was hoping to hear something along the lines of "I bless you with healing in your eye that will not hinder your work as a missionary" but that wasn't a promise God wanted to give for whatever reason. When I mentioned this to my companion who gave me the blessing, he said he wanted to say that, but God did not let him. What I do know, is that God is steering right now. I have done the things I have been supposed to do, and whatever happens is His plan. It sucks, but that is how things work sometime. 

I am really worried about what is going to happen after talking with the doctors. On the other hand, I feel very at peace with the doctors who have been caring for my eyes. I also have a very powerful promise in my patriarchal blessing that God will touch the hands of the doctors who are caring for my eyes and that I will be able to see…also that I will be able to see the things that I need to see--books, scriptures, things of this world. And right now as I can not see those things, I trust that God will provide. That's about all for my eyes. I trust in God and I know that the care I will receive will be what I need. 

Thank you for your prayers and support back home. I don't think I am going to send other emails today. I am just too stressed about what the unknowns will be and I can't focus right now. This is all of my pre-mission fears coming to life right now... But I love you! Good luck with your school work. I hope this morning went well!


October 31, 2016--Week 64

Hey everyone,

This week has been COLD. The weather got cold again and it rained on Wednesday night and I don't have a waterproof jacket so all of the clothes I got were wet for like 3 days. And our apartment didn't have heat in the beginning of the week because it was broken. But it's chill because our heater got fixed on Saturday and so things are better now. So the morning routine is easier when I can actually wake up. 

But yeah, I love it here. The area is so sweet. I hope you all have a great week and I love you all!
-Elder Nickerl

Monday, October 24, 2016

October 24, 2016--Week 63

Hey Everyone,

This week has been SO cool! So many amazing things have happened and this is the coolest area I have ever been in. Jersey City is amazing. There are so many people to talk to so the time spent in between talking to people is like 0.5 seconds and we can easily teach like 7-8 lessons a day and find like 4-5 new people every day. So I will spare you the details on all of the contacting and finding, but I love it here. This is going to be a blast. 

Also my new companion Elder Merritt is so awesome. He is such a hard worker and is pretty much go, go, go at like 150% all day every day. It is so great. We get along really well and I can already tell that he is going to probably be my favorite companion that I have had this far. We have pretty much been skipping lunch and dinner every night and just eating at like 7:00 a.m. before studies and at 9:30 p.m. We just take a water bottle and a few protein bars and go at it all day. It's so awesome. Also we are running every morning. He is the first companion who I have had who will go running with me and so that is super great. We pretty much fast walk or run everywhere we go all day every day too so i am going to be in really good shape. 

We have some awesome people who we are working with, but I don't have time to type about them. I will try next week, but I am so happy to be here. 

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

October 17, 2016--Week 62

Hey Everyone,

Well this week was transfers and after a long time of being here in Toms River I'm off to a new area. It was pretty hard to say goodbye to a lot of people yesterday and it will be very hard to say goodbye to a few more tonight, but I am quite excited to go. I love the people here, but I do feel like I have done and learned what I came to Toms River for and so I am ready to go. 

My new area will be in Jersey City, which I know nothing about at all. But I think it is a walking area which is awesome. I don’t like being in a car and I am super excited to go there and walk. It's a super small area and my new companion is Elder Merritt. He came out about 3 months ago and just got done training. I have never met him and know nothing about him, but from talking to him on the phone last night he seems pretty chill so I am excited to go work with him. 

Other than the transfer news, we had a lot of really cool miracles this week happen so I will just share a few. We got a call on Thursday from a lady in a different ward and she told us that her friend and two kids would be coming to church this Sunday and wanted us to meet her outside beforehand. And she actually came with both of her kids! She loved it and is coming back and we are going to start teaching her. Or these elders here are... :) The other pretty cool thing was that we got a solid member referral last night. That is the first time I have ever gotten a referral when I asked for one during my mission and so that was pretty much another miracle. The sister in the ward is going to call them and we are following up on Tuesday (or these elders are)... :) 

I feel very good about my time here in Toms River and I feel like I gave it everything I had and I am very pleased with the progress that the Lord has allowed me to be a part of in this area. It is almost a totally different area than when I came here and I got to finish up my time here with another talk yesterday bringing my total number of talks given in my life to 17. I think when I gave four talks while I was a deacon it was an indicator of the number of talks I would give in my life. I love giving them though. Yesterday I spoke on Family History and I feel it went really well (half of the room was tearing up so I hope that meant it was good). I really do have a testimony of family history. I have learned how to do it here and as I was sharing the blessings that have come into my life as a result, they are almost innumerable.  I am so thankful for the opportunity to have learned to do it here so that I can go home and do it for the rest of my life. 

Anyways, I gotta run, but I love you all, thanks for your prayers and support!
-Elder Nickerl

P.S.  I finally found a railroad to take my missionary railroad photos!

October 10, 2016--Week 61

Hey everyone,

Wow this week went by fast! I can't believe it. We had a great time and went on exchanges with the Zone Leaders this week as well. We also had zone conference. I learned a lot about accountability and being accountable for the ways that we spend our time. I know that as we spend our time always trying to do not just good things, but the better and best as well, we can bring about miracles. 

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

Monday, September 26, 2016

September 26, 2016--Week 59

Hey everyone,

I hope you all are doing well. I don't have a lot of time... again. We have a few appointments at the most inconvenient times today making our email time super short. But that's life. 

This week's highlight was going to the temple with Rocksan. Such a great experience. We went with our bishop and his wife. Other than that, we are finding all day every day. Pray for us to be led to prepared people who want to listen to us. 

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

Oh PS—This week I was told I probably wouldn't go back to the Korean program. Super mixed feelings on that. I love those people, but there is no work there. So I am officially an English only missionary for the rest of my mission.

Monday, September 19, 2016

September 19, 2016--Week 58

Hey everyone,

Pretty crazy week. It is weird how God literally has just brought people to us this week. All of our own efforts seem like we are just wasting time, but then randomly, we will get a referral or an idea of where we need to be and suddenly prepared people come to us. It is amazing. God is real and this has to be his work. There is no way some of these people would get to us otherwise. 

This week has had too many cool things so I will just talk about a few and then if I have nothing to say next week, I will just pretend the things from this week happened next week and write about them then :) Just kidding, but really maybe I will do that. 

So we had the Philadelphia Temple dedication this week and that was amazing! We went and had an incredible experience. Rocksan also went (at a different time) with some members from our ward.  It was great that she went with them because it means she is transitioning away from missionaries and to the ward. We are going to go to the temple with her this week to do some work for her ancestors which will be a super great experience for her. She has been doing family history for a few weeks and has gotten very excited about all of it. She also has been teaching us the missionary lessons (First because then she can learn from preparing the lessons and second because then we can see what she does not understand) and it has been going so well. She could already teach Gospel Principles class, which would be nice since we don't have a teacher. She is so solid. 

Also, this week we found some really awesome new investigators. One family, a single man, and then a young teenager. I'll hold off on their details till next week, but they are all so prepared there is no way they all fall through. So we will see. Miracles are real all around—especially in the little details. 

Also today at Walmart, we found some Korean pepper paste (Go Choo Jang) and some Korean barbeque stuff so now we can make Korean food forever cause we stocked up a lot. I hope you are all having a great week and I hope you enjoy this next one. 

Love you all!
-Elder Nickerl

PS--Get stoked for General Conference in 13 days! Don't miss it :D  

1.  My favorite... Weekly planning on couch. Our couch is on top of our bunk bed so it's the best place to think and do weekly planning. 

2.  It's really nice to be able to have Korean food again. And now I'm learning how to make it so I will not have to go without again. I love life.

3.  I don't remember which day it was a couple weeks ago. And so we made french fries right before going to bed. Super bad idea... I hadn't made fried food in like 4 months and we have been eating super super healthy. I was pretty sick the next day. But hey they tasted good. But never again. 

Monday, September 12, 2016

September 12, 2016--Week 57

Hey everyone,

This has been a pretty cool week! It's the first week of transfers and I am now with Elder Gim. It's cool having a Korean companion again because he makes Korean food. So that's really awesome because I forgot how much I missed it. So good.

Other than the food being awesome, we have some pretty cool things going on. Rocksan is getting ready to go to the temple this next week, our members are getting more and more excited about missionary work, and next Sunday is the temple dedication for the Philadelphia temple.

We're working to find a lot of investigators because we have none. But they will come. It's gonna be great. This week it's going to be a flood of new investigators. You will see, just wait till next week. That's really about it for the week!  I hope you are all doing great! 

Have a great week!

-Elder Nickerl

Monday, September 5, 2016

September 5, 2016--Week 56

Hey everyone!

Here's the updates on the week. I hope this works okay, not sure how it works, but I saw the sisters doing it a few weeks ago and it looked like a quick easy way to email home, so I'm trying it out.  Let me know how this works out and if there are any problems or concerns with it. 

Just a quick thought on something I have been thinking a lot about. Last night we got our transfer calls and found out what was happening. I was a little worried because I feel like we are running out of new ideas and things to try in this area before we go to knocking doors all day every day when all of the sudden it just came to me--just as it did right before we found Rocksan a few weeks ago-- in a quiet reassuring feeling and it was as if I felt a voice saying, “Don't worry, you don't need to know what to do or where to go, because I do" and at that moment, I knew all would be okay because if I strive my best, God WILL lead the way and he will help us find those people who are prepared. I know it is true. I am really excited to see how things will continue to change here. I know that this is all true. God lives and he loves us. He will show us where we need to be and how to be the happiest in our lives, but we have to seek and look. Just like any parent, he won't give us everything we want, but he will teach us the way to be successful. 

I love you all and hope you have a great week! —Elder Nickerl

Monday, August 29, 2016

August 29, 2016--Week 55

Hey everyone!

So this week was pretty good. All my weeks are good though, are so that shouldn't be a surprise. Also I don't have P-Day today so my emails are sporadic. My companion had to go to his dying (when you leave the mission) trip to the Statue of Liberty today and so we are driving a lot and I don’t have a time to sit down and write. So this and all my emails will be scattered.
But yeah, Rocksan got baptized this week! It went really well and the ward was there to support the whole thing. Next week she is getting confirmed and that should go really well. Also our high priest’s group leader has officially returned back to church after a year of inactivity. So that is even better. Two great things and the ward is growing a lot. Other than that, we have been doing a lot of finding.

Elder Dube from the quorum of the seventy came and talked to our mission. He is SUPER funny and he is really personable. I had the chance to talk with him for a few minutes cause he went around talking to everyone in person. It was sweet.

So that's pretty much it. I hope you all have a great week!
-Elder Nickerl

Monday, August 8, 2016

August 8, 2016--Week 52

Hello everyone,

This week has been excellent except I remember very few details of what happened. I took no pictures and I have been super bad at keeping a journal, but what I do know is that we are seeing so many great things happen. We're super excited about the work. 

Sunday, church was cool. For the first time ever on my mission, someone just walked in from the streets and wanted to come to our church. It was a miracle. She loved it and says she is coming back.  She wouldn't give us any contact information because she hasn't made any commitments and she doesn't want us knocking on her door yet. But that is okay. If she is back next week, it will be an even better miracle. The ward is changing and is starting to trust the missionaries a lot more which is super great. 

Nothing else to report, but a cool thing I am learning is how the Lord helps us to build our talents. This lesson goes in great with our mission motto which is "Become". We are to become God's instruments. After looking back over my mission so far a lot this week and doing a lot of pondering and goal setting, I've realized how much I am changing through the experiences God is giving me. I am so thankful for each opportunity I have to make a choice and then receive consequences good or bad for doing so. I am noticing a lot of the same trials or experiences repeating in my life to help teach me a specific thing God wants me to learn. I feel like a lot of times, we can figure out what God wants us to learn from the trials we receive, then knowing what we should learn helps us to learn it quicker. I’m thankful for a Savior who makes it possible to make these decisions, and then overcome the negative consequences through sincere repentance. This life is great. "For behold, this life is the time for men to prepare to meet God; yea, behold the day of this life is the day for men to perform their labors." (Alma 34:32)

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

-Elder Nickerl

Monday, August 1, 2016

August 1, 2016--Week 51

Hello everyone,

First off thank you for all of the prayers and fasting this week, I really appreciated it throughout the week. This was an excellent week. First up, missionaries now have Facebook here, so that is pretty cool. I don’t really how that is gonna work out, but it is going to be sweet. I'm super excited!

We are seeing things happening in our area and I am convinced we will have two baptisms this transfer. I don't accept anything less. I've realized this week, a lot later than I should have, that this is God's work, and it is time I let him take control. If he wants us to find people, we will. I have been so caught up in my doubting that I haven't allowed for miracles to happen. So that time is done. We are going to see miracles here. Toms River is going to see things happen and I am excited about it.

Also this week I started something called a 40 days fast. I am fasting from anything that pokes at the Spirit or makes me feel it less and will fast from these things for 40 days. So far it's been a struggle, but the promise from the challenge (I got it from Elder Maxwell's talk), is that if I do so, my nature will be changed and I will no longer have a desire to do these things. So it will happen.

Nothing else really to report, awesome week though. Thank you all once again for your support!

Elder Nickerl

Monday, July 25, 2016

July 25, 2016--Week 50

Hey everyone,

Well transfers are here, but I'm still here in Toms River with Elder Gibson. Not much else to say about that.

This last week has been meh. The week was pretty slow and we didn't really see anything, but the weekend was pretty great. Definitely the highlight was yesterday. But first on Saturday, we found a few new investigators so that was cool since we don't have any of those or didn't till then. 

But yeah yesterday, Sunday, we got to go to the Philadelphia temple open house that was specifically for missionaries and investigators. And it was super cool because we met some awesome people there. There was a couple who just walked in from the streets when we went and we were able to answer all their questions through the whole experience and we got their contact information so we can teach them more about the church. They were very interested in the whole thing and I'll be surprised if they don't get baptized which is saying a lot because I never say that. But they aren't in our area... They live in south Jersey down by Cherry Hill.  So that isn't even our mission area, but it's okay because they are super interested in the gospel, not us. 

Other than that, don't really have anything to report, but I love you all, thanks so much for all your support. Have a great week!

Elder Nickerl

Here is the Philadelphia Temple!  It is GREAT!!!

Monday, July 18, 2016

July 18 2016--Week 49

Hey everyone!

Another great week went by. This last week we had a lot of pretty cool experiences, but I don't remember the specific details before Sunday and I don't keep a journal so I have no way to really remember (maybe I should keep one, but I don't know when I would have time to write in it anyways). As for what happened on Sunday, church was great. We had a member’s daughter come up to us and tell us that she wasn't a member even though we probably thought she was (we knew she wasn't a member) and then she told us she wants to get baptized and wants us to come over and teach her the lessons... So that was cool. That hasn’t happened to me yet. And then we got a call also telling us about a new investigator moving into our area who works with our Elder's Quorum President as co-manager of Vivint in the area of Toms River. So that was pretty cool too. And then we had an eternigator come to us and tell us she is ready to be baptized as well... So that was cool too. Probably the best Sunday I have had in the Toms River area so far.

Outside that, this week we have been continuing to teach the less active and inactive members of the ward the missionary lessons. We are teaching about 10-15 of them weekly and are making good progress with them and the ward leadership. It is awesome. I love it here. Then I also set some personal goals this week that I have been working really hard to work towards. One of them is doing a self video role play every night after planning for about 15 minutes to help improve my teaching. I feel like a pretty bad teacher recently and so I have been working really hard to improve. So that has been fun, and I also am working to cut out negative thoughts/comments. I have seen noticeable differences from doing both and I am pretty excited to be here right now. I'm pretty bummed that next week is transfers, I like it here and there is a decent chance I will be going. But either way, whatever happens, it is up to God not me. But that doesn't stop me from praying to stay anyways. :) 

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

-Elder Nickerl

Monday, July 11, 2016

July 11, 2016--Week 48

Hey everyone,

This week was excellent with its fair share of rough patches, but super great overall. We got in contact with A LOT of less actives this week. We have been putting about 90% of our efforts into strengthening the ward and members because it isn't a very strong ward. We have very few priesthood holders or willing to serve people and so we are trying to fix that. We are working with bishop to teach the members, active and less active the missionary discussions, and we are seeing a lot of changes from it. 

Elder Gibson and I both feel really good about our last week. Also we got fed a ton this week. I don't really know where it is all coming from, but we only had to make like 3 meals and last night we had 3 meal appointments.  I forget most of what happened in the details, but it was good and I have some sweet pictures. I hope you all are doing well and have a great week!

-Elder Nickerl

This is my garden.  It sort of over-took the windowsill. 

This guy marched all over town like this. No shame.

Collin came down to my area for a baptism.  It was great to see him!

Wednesday, July 6, 2016

July 4, 2016--Week 47

Hey everyone,
I feel like P-Days down here in Toms River should mean we get a lot more time since we are far away from the mission office and mission activities, but somehow, our time just keeps vanishing on Mondays. So I am sorry once again, I have no time to write. 

We are still working hard to strengthen the ward and also to find new people to teach. We continue to do A LOT of contacting and we have a lot of first appointments scheduled this week and so hopefully those all pan out. Other than that, we got dropped a lot this week. God is still teaching me patience I guess. But all in all, things are going well. We're having a good time and the church is still true :).

Also we are right by the water so that is cool. 

I love you guys and hope you have a great week!
-Elder Nickerl

Monday, June 27, 2016

June 27, 2016--Week 46

Hey everyone,

Sorry I have had not really had emailing time for the last few weeks. Pretty much for a very quick recap, I am still here in Toms River. I am with Elder Gibson and he was my zone leader a few transfers ago. He's a great missionary and has two more transfers so I am lucky to be able to learn from him. 

We have a lot to do in our area to make it a functioning area, but we are working super hard. We are bummed/happy because Auriel and Brandon are moving to California (they were our super progressing investigators) but it is good because they are moving with their friends who referred them to us in the first place. So they will keep with the church and it will be better for them in CA where they will get fellowshipped. But it is sad cause we can't work with them. Good news though, we found another person this week. Her name is Delaney.  We are meeting almost every day so she is progressing really fast and she has a baptismal date for July 24. We are excited! 

As for other stuff, we are busy. I love my life. Being a missionary is great and I honestly love it, but it is also the hardest thing I have ever done. I have recently taken to praying to see harder things in my life and have more trials. And let me just say, God answers our prayers :). The inspiration for this idea came from church a few weeks ago when I think it finally came to me why we need to go through trials and hard things. I am also learning that I need to be thankful for each trial and I am continuing to learn that as I ask for more, I grow so much faster. I have a testimony of our purpose on this Earth. We are here because we wanted to become like our Father in heaven. And that is no small task and requires a lot of effort. The more we mess up, the more hard things we go through, but also the more we grow. Hence the asking for more trials. I am just trusting and banking on the fact that Heavenly Father will not test us past our ability to continue on. I believe that our Savior, Jesus Christ will make the difference and until now he has for me. So I continue on believing. 

I love you all.  Your prayers on my behalf are felt and I am truly thankful for them. I hope you all have a great week!
-Elder Nickerl

P.S.  This week, we totally found a piano on the street and almost brought it to our apartment. 

Monday, June 13, 2016

June 13, 2016--Week 44

Hey everyone,

So basically last week since my companion went to his mission departing trip, I was with other missionaries and they planned a bunch of appointments during their P-Day and traded their P-Day for a different one. Because of that, I didn't have a P-Day, but that's okay cause I didn't come on a mission for P-Days. :)  But that is why I had no time. 

Today (or last night) we got transfer news. For the upcoming transfer, I am going to now be with Elder Gibson (my zone leader while I was in the Korean program) here in the same area—Toms River. I am really excited. I have been on a few exchanges with him and he is a really great missionary. I am excited to be able to learn from two missionaries back to back who know what they are doing. As for today, I also don't have a whole lot of time because we have a lot to get done with it being Elder Runyan's last day and we also have appointments.  I probably won't get to emailing everyone back personally today, but I am thankful for the emails I’ve received and am sorry I probably can't email you back with the time I have. 

This week has been pretty hard. We are meeting with the same people who are doing well, but outside that, we don't have anything really going on. We are having a hard time getting members involved and excited, and so we are doing A LOT of contacting. I really am excited to have a fresh set of ideas come into the area so that we can do something else. I am not the biggest fan of knocking doors. But all in all, I am doing well. I love it here. I am mostly glad I am not getting transferred. 

I just wanted to let you all know how much I appreciate your prayers and support. I can feel it and am truly grateful. I hope you all have a fantastic week and I will be back next week. 

-Elder Nickerl

June 6, 2016--Week 43

Hey I really have no time this week. Like at all, but I hope you all
are doing well. Have a great week!


Elder Nickerl

May 30, 2016--Week 42

Well it got hot this week....   Pretty much out of no where it got up to 90's when it was in the 50's last week. So that stinks. I hate heat especially this humid heat. I don't really have anything to report much this week in terms of new stuff. We are still meeting with the people from last week and no one new. But we did make deep fried food almost every day of this week. I don't know why I had to learn how to do that because now in the English program that is all I really do. We made orange chicken, fried chicken, fried Oreos, fried cookies and then a lot of other unhealthy things. When I run out of oil, I won't buy it again. But I did make pizza this week so that was a little more healthy. Also we made cookies for a lot of people this week and that has helped us get in people's doors all week. So I think I will keep doing that as my mission continues. (Also--to you mom--I think I make better cookies than you again) I really don't remember anything else, it has been a holiday weekend so knocking doors has been real fun. Everyone is really thrilled to see us.

I would say the highlight of my week was definitely yesterday. The sacrament was a wonderful blessing to me in my week. No matter how busy life is, it is always a wonderful opportunity we have to be able to renew our covenants from baptism and feel peace and forgiveness for all that we have done wrong throughout the week. I feel like as I have began to really focus on the Sacrament throughout the week, I have been able to overcome my weaknesses and challenges so much faster. I am so thankful for the peace the Gospel of Jesus Christ brings us in our lives and I am thankful for this opportunity to be always sharing it with others. 

I love you all, I hope you have great weeks and I will talk to you next week!

-Elder Nickerl

May 23, 2016--Week 41

Hey everyone,

So this was a week of more miracles than I can really remember. Seriously. We had things just falling into our lap. The hand of God in our timing of our days was very, very noticeable. We would spend hours walking lost to find that we come back to our car and EVERYTHING just went perfectly on timing for the rest of the day. We got to go to the temple this week too. Also we did interviews with President Taggart which was awesome. Then we got a referral from President Taggart and a couple members in New York for a couple who lives in our area who are SO prepared to hear the gospel. They are managers for Vivint and are super good friends with the Elders Quorum president in our ward. So pray for them, their names are Brandon and Auriel. Also this week we ran into a few different less active and part member families who we can start working with. Specifically please pray for Tyler and Lisa. We ran into a few others, as well. We also ran into the best friend of a member in our ward who is ready to take the missionary lessons and believes it is true already because of the members. We also got a referral from some people in the New York mission who is totally prepared and ready to take the lessons.

Basically moral of the story here, my thoughts are scattered, my week was scattered, we saw too many miracles to count/write down, and this area is blowing up. So we are super excited to be here right now. I feel great and love this work. I testify that this is the work of Jesus Christ himself. He is our Savior and because of him, all things are possible. Without him, we are nothing. 

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

Elder Nickerl

Photo #1:  A member here gave these to my companion and I this week... All of them.

Photo #2: We went to the temple too. That was a great part of the week. It started the miracles.

Monday, May 16, 2016

May 16, 2016--Week 40

Hey everyone,

I don't have a whole lot to report on in terms of news this week. Pretty much everyone that we found last week dropped us or the other way around so we don't really have anyone to teach still, but that is okay, we will keep trying. 

This Sunday I gave a talk in church on how living Christlike lives leads to missionary work and then I met everyone else in the ward I didn't meet last week. I think I have met them all and know them by name. I have worked using my notes and ward list to have all of their names memorized as soon as possible and I am glad I have because I feel that it will help our relationships with them. 

We are excited to have a new week here. We are going to continue to try and find people and work with the members in the ward. I am excited to be here and I am very thankful for the help from on high that I have received this week to boost my spirits in hard times. I truly have been super happy for some reason all week when I don't really feel like I have a good reason for it, but I am super happy here. I know this is because of the tender mercies of the Lord. As I have started through the Book of Mormon again, I am looking to find all of the tender mercies that Nephi points out will be there. As I have done so, I have better been able to see the hand of the Lord in my life and I am so thankful for that. 

I hope you all have a great week! Let me know if I can do anything for you.
-Elder Nickerl

May 9, 2016--Week 39

Hey everyone,

So this week was great, but let me start of by saying that I love my new area. I didn't know anything about it last week and so I had no clue what to expect, but it is a great place (Toms River, NJ). The members are awesome!  My new companion Elder Runyan is also awesome (he's about to go home this transfer) so he is very experienced and knows what he is doing.  I am learning a ton and the people in this area are super nice and friendly.  My new area has the biggest population of Jews outside of Israel (I think it is close to 60% which is cool for everything except missionary work).  I miss the Korean language and culture, but I am really excited to be here. 

As for this week, we did a fair amount of contacting and we had some solid finds and a few lessons scattered within. The coolest part of the week was finding a few teenagers here in this area this week.  We've already had our second lesson with them and they are all very interested.  It’s great to have three new investigators for us who are all young men age (which is great for this ward because there are no youth). We are super excited and think things will go really well with them. They are not the average teenagers you meet. They are very interested in finding the correct path so much so that they read the bible for fun together. When I was 15/16, I didn't do that for fun with friends. So they are super great. Their names are Nick, John, and Shaymis. Then we also met some cool people on Saturday names Bruce and Denia who are also great people. So we hope that goes well. We have return appointments with all of these people for this next week so pray that these all go through. 

As for other things:  there are no Koreans or anything relating to Korea here, so that is unfortunate. My language is going to suffer, but I speak to myself in the mirror a lot for fun and for practice. 

Also, I got to FaceTime home yesterday for Mother's Day and got to talk to the best family in the world.  

Hope you all have a great week!
-Elder Nickerl

Monday, May 2, 2016

May 2, 2016--Week 38

Hey everyone,

So this week is transfers, and I am finally transferring. I have mixed emotions about going. I am going to very Southern New Jersey in Toms River (an English area) with a companion I do not know named Elder Runyun. I hear that he is a great, hard-working missionary.  I’ll have more updates next week about the new area, but I am excited to have a new change of scenery and to go learn from an experienced missionary. I am a little bummed to leave the members here who I have come to love and I will miss the familiarity of the Korean area. Also I will miss being able to speak in Korean a lot with my companion, because something tells me Elder Runyun doesn't speak Korean.  But I really am glad for the new opportunities that I know this will bring. 

I’m sorry that I have so little time to write this week. I am also sorry that I won't be getting around to emailing people as I have to pack here and get ready to go.  I love you all and hope you have a great week!

Love, Elder Nickerl

P.S. Exchanges with Elder Gim. Pretty much the best food I have ever eaten. The meat was amazing.

Monday, April 25, 2016

April 25, 2016--Week 37

How's it going everyone?

Hope things are well for all of you! I am doing pretty good over here in Jersey. As sad as it is, this is probably going to be my last week here in the Korean area for a while, which is a bummer because this transfer things finally clicked with my Korean. Night and day difference. Yesterday at church I gave a talk and that built a lot of trust with the members and after that I got the chance to talk to a lot of them and they actually spoke in Korean to me instead of English (They usually speak in English because they thought I couldn’t understand, but that appears to be a thing of the past) and I don't really have too much trouble carrying on a conversation. I'm really excited about his because I have put A TON of effort in this transfer with Elder Jeon and we have been speaking only Korean. Also I am seeing the results of that with the Gift of Tongues in my life to learn the language that has been such a frustration for so long. And now that I am past the learning block, I will most likely be leaving next week. But who knows? :) 

Anyway, this week was pretty awesome. We went on exchanges twice. Once with the zone leaders and once with district elders. So I went on one exchange with Elder Hicks and once with Elder Trask. I learned a lot from each of them and it is always nice to be able to see missionary work done in other ways. I really love the members here in this area and truly have the desire to help instead them instead of just doing it semi-grudgingly.
In general this week, I just feel very blessed and I am very thankful for the many blessings I am receiving that are allowing me to work through these last few hard transfers. To me it is an ongoing testimony that God cares about us enough to make us happy. Through the hard or easy times, he is always with us cheering us up, and helping us along. I am living proof that God can use imperfect people to do his work. This week, with our branch president at dinner, he said something that really has affected me. He said (and I'm translating so excuse the paraphrased sentence), “During your mission, you are entitled to God's revelation. So when you do missionary work, use that all the time." Then he shared a story about how he would contact as a missionary. He would walk up and down streets praying to know at each driveway if he should contact that specific house and he would only spend his time doing it if he felt a yes. And I believe that is very true. When we pray in our lives for things that have eternal significance, we will ALWAYS receive the answer (if we are worthy and sincere). And this is other people's salvation and so we CAN and WILL receive the answer. He said a lot of really cool stuff that I already knew, but it really affected me that night. And I testify that we really can receive answers to our questions. We really can find true peace and happiness through our personal communication with our Father in Heaven. 

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

P.S.  Our Branch President took us out to eat here. It's a super good all you can eat sushi place.

Monday, April 18, 2016

April 18, 2016--Week 36

Hey everyone,

Another week flew by in New Jersey. I love it here, but I don’t really have a whole ton of things to report because it is pretty much the same old stuff as usual. Daily miracles, working hard, being happy, speaking to a lot of people, and serving others. So instead of emailing a long message, I will just send a few pictures.

I know that this is where I need to be and that there is no where I would rather be. I know I say it all the time, it's true. I love you all! Have a great week!
-Elder Nickerl

P.S.  This is a side note from Jacob’s mom:  This past week, Jacob lost his wallet—or it was stolen—we aren’t sure.  As you can imagine, it created a lot of extra stress in his life.  The mission president allowed him to coordinate with me to cancel his debit card and order a new one.  But getting a new Utah driver’s license was going to be over a two month process (not a great idea when you are supposed to be able to drive) and it was going to be impossible to replace his dependent military ID, along with many other frustrations.  Jacob and I prayed very hard for a miracle.  Friday morning, I got a call here in Utah that someone had turned Jacob's wallet in to the police department there in a town by where Jacob lives.  When he got it back, everything was completely intact.  How often does that happen?  We know the Lord’s hand was in this and that he cares about the “inconveniences” in our lives.

This is Sister 윤정일. She is the Relief Society president.

This is Sister 송덕희. She is just an awesome member missionary. 

And this is probably my favorite restaurant here. It's really good.

Monday, April 11, 2016

April 11, 2016--Week 35

Hey everyone,

This has been a great week here in New Jersey! A lot happened this week, no new investigators really, but a lot happened anyway. 

On Tuesday, we did exchanges with the zone leaders, and I learned a lot.  I found a lot of answers to what needs to be done in this area. I learned a lot about how to work with members and to get people involved in the work even in little ways to make a big difference. On top of that, Elder Jeon and I have been speaking only Korean with each other and I finally this week feel like everything is coming together. To a degree it feels weird when we speak English with members or on the street. In no way am I more comfortable in Korean, but after only speaking it for a while, it is weird to speak in English. I finally feel like I understand what people say, I no longer translate everything in my head when I hear it and, for the most part, I have no problem speaking. To other people it sounds weird, but they get the point almost all the time. I have been able to memorize vocab like crazy which I haven't been able to do for a while. I am doing about 40 words a day and last night when we reviewed this weeks vocab I knew them all and didn't forget any. I truly feel the gift of tongues this week as it is all FINALLY coming together. I don't think anyone who hasn't learned Korean would understand, but it isn't easy, and it is like night and day difference between last week. I feel great about it. 

Then to top off this week, President Taggart came to the Korean branch to train the ward leaders in ward council and gave a great training and throw down. The members needed it and I learned a ton. I am excited to see what this will bring for the following weeks. Elder Jeon and I (and the other Korean missionaries) have a lot to do to get the members involved, but we know what we have to do and are getting started because it will take a while.

This week I am truly grateful for the power of personal revelation. I am thankful that we can have the Gift of the Holy Ghost to receive answers to questions that we have. God does not leave us alone in the dark. I am thankful for answers that we can and do receive. I know that if we have questions, sometimes it feels like they can never be answered, but they can. All we have to do is sincerely ask the God above. He loves us and he wants to help us, but if we don't go to him, he can't help us. He loves us enough that he won't force us to do anything, but he gives us the tools to find him. Those tools being prayer, scripture study, prophets, apostles, church, personal revelation, etc. I am thankful for this. I know it is true. Miracles exist and this is all because we have a Father in Heaven who loves us. We are here on Earth to become like him. This I know to be true and bare witness to all of you.

Have a great week and look to serve those around you! If you are having a hard time in your own life, turn to help others and I promise you you will be able to forget your own troubles and feel the love of God. 

I love you all!
-Elder Nickerl

Tuesday, April 5, 2016

April 4, 2016--Week 34

Hey everyone,

Not too much to report this week in terms of missionary work. It’s been pretty slow. We are really struggling to find anyone to teach and have been unable to for quite some time. We do a lot of contacting, but the people here don't seem to be super interested. It's a little discouraging at times, but in the end of the day, I feel comfortable going to bed knowing I have done my part and everyone has their agency to choose to accept or not. 

I am very thankful that this weekend was general conference, especially since it meant that we had a couple semi-relaxing days. I am so thankful that we have such inspired men leading and guiding this church, but more importantly I am thankful that they are all men who follow God's will. I am thankful for all that we have been taught this weekend specifically about family. I am truly grateful for the knowledge of eternal families, that one day, we will live with those that we love forever if we keep the commandments of God. I know that this is true. During conference, each time there was a message shared about family, I felt a deep reassurance from the Spirit that it was true. 

On a little different note, I loved Elder Holland's talk about God's love for each of us as his children. At times on my mission, I have had the wonderful experience of seeing just a fraction of the love that God has for me and his children on this Earth. Even this small fraction that I've felt has been enough to overwhelm me and on several occasions I have been brought to tears of joy knowing that God loves us. I know that it is true.  I know our Father in Heaven loves each one of us individually. He knows us, he understands us, and he wants what is best for us and all we have to do is follow his plan for us and then sit and watch in amazement as he works wonders in our lives. I'm thankful once again that God has once again called a prophet on the Earth today and that he leads and guides this church through him. Thomas S. Monson is a real prophet, just listen to him speak and I promise that if you let it, the Spirit will testify of the truth of his words.

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

Monday, March 28, 2016

March 28, 2016--Week 33

Hey everyone,

This week has been pretty uneventful, but it's the start of a new transfer. 

This week we learned how to use the bus system in our area because our area now has a random city about 7 miles from our house that we have to bus to, but that area is so much better than what we normally work in. It doesn't have any Koreans, but it has a lot of English speaking people who we can work with there. This week we found a really good potential there. Her name is Tanya and we are meeting with her again tomorrow. Other than that, not too much in order. I sent a lot of pictures, I'm doing well. 

I hope all of you have wonderful weeks!
-Elder Nickerl

This is our branch mission leader/2nd counselor in the Branch Presidency and his family. 
They are awesome.

This is the Relief Society President in the branch. She is also awesome.

This is a family in our ward--the only ones in our area.

This was the night before transfers.

This is how we proselyting now... President gave us permission to proselyte in regular clothes... It is so much more effective and so we do it a couple times a week.

We heart attacked a members door.

Monday, March 21, 2016

March 21, 2016--Week 32

Hey everyone,

This has been a super crazy busy week with too much stuff to mention in one email, so I will just keep it to the most important things. First, tomorrow is transfers, I will be staying one more transfer here in the walking area with my new companion Elder Jeon. After that, I’ll probably go English for a little bit. There is a big story behind all that, but it took a super long explanation so if you want it, ask my mom for the email.

Second, we had the best contact of my mission this week. We knocked a random door and the old Korean lady who answered told us she was not interested, but we asked if we could just say a prayer with her to which she agreed and invited us in to kneel down. After we prayed, she gave us water, then fed us a huge meal with a ton of fruit and Korean noodles. Then she gave us kimchi to take home. A LOT of kimchi. Then she gave us about $100 dollars of Korean noodles to take home and another $50 of food. We aren't super sure why, but we were stoked and she was super nice. Here is the food. It doesn't look like much in the picture, but it is a TON.

Also this week, we got permission from President Taggart for the Korean missionaries to contact people in normal clothes, not church clothes. We believe this will truly change things for our area. In all honesty, it sounds like a super bad idea, but if you were here, you would understand. Anyway, with this transfer coming to a close, I am truly grateful for all the help I have had through this transfer via prayers, fasting, and all other things that have made things easier for me. I am grateful for what the Lord is molding me into. I know there is nothing better I could be doing. With general conference coming up, I encourage all of you to go into it with a question in mind that can be answered. If you don't have one, you have two weeks to think. 

With that, I hope you all have a great week!
-Elder Nickerl

P.S.  (From Angela: Here is part of Elder Nickerl’s email that he sent to me earlier explaining what he is referencing in the first paragraph of this email): 

So a few days ago I called President to ask a few questions and we got into talking about the Korean area and what would make it effective. President and I came to the conclusion that this area needed a reformatting and so he asked me to talk with all the Korean Elders to get their opinions and ideas. The thing is about the Korean walking area, is we have no way to work with members without a car and we have no members in the walking area (for English or Korean).  We came up with a few solutions and gave them to President. Our solutions will not take place until next transfer, but President is going to pray about what is the best solution for this area. With either solution, there will only be one Korean companionship in the area. So with that it mind, President told me that because there are currently 8 Korean speaking missionaries, two things could happen, he would either pick 4 of us, and have us be Korean missionaries, or we would all stay Korean speaking missionaries, but none of us would end up learning Korean very well (which would be ineffective). He thoughts were that myself, Elder Jeon, and Elder Trask, and the new incoming missionary will be the 4 Koreans here and he will cycle us out over the next two years and that the others will just become English missionaries. 

And so with all of that, this transfer, I am still in the walking area. I am with Elder Jeon. I like him. He is a great missionary. Elder Trask is training the brand new Korean, and we are making huge changes in our apartment to make it a better place for a new missionary to come in. It will be a lot more focused all around and we are going to get on each other about the little things that are holding us back from exact obedience. It's going to be clean, no more speaking low form to each other, everyone works out every day. Things like that.