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. 

Monday, March 14, 2016

March 14, 2016--Week 31

Hey everyone,

I hope you all had a great week! It was alright here, except for all of our investigators dropped us, so now we aren't teaching anyone. And both the people who were getting baptized are not, but other than that it's been awesome. We have a clean apartment as of today and this Thursday we get to go to the temple as a zone and so that should be really awesome. I am really excited about the temple even though we don't have much going on the rest of the week, but I know that any week with the temple can be a good one. Also after a pretty hard week, for the first time, I am glad it is P-Day and I can relax and rest and just not worry about anything else. 

Yesterday at church I think the funniest thing that has happened to me on my mission happened. Well at first it was funny and then it turned cool. So the other Korean elders had a baptism this week in the English ward, and so they couldn't go to the Korean Sacrament meeting and my companion Elder Kim was giving a talk. There was a lady from the stake who needed translation. President Song asked me to translate for her into English during the talks. That's when I laughed. I'm not sure why he thought I knew enough Korean to translate even a little bit for anyone, but I had to anyway. So after having a panic attack and assuring him that I was not able to do it, he ignored my comment and said, “Thanks I knew you would do it.” So I had to anyway... and the most amazing thing happened. To start you have to understand that I do not understand more than 25% of what is said in typical Sacrament meetings and even that is when I am trying really hard. But when I translated for her, I did not understand everything, but I think I probably understood about 70% and enough to tell her the point of each talk. I thought that it was an amazing miracle and blessing that God made that possible. I know miracles are real, because that was one. And it was super cool.

I am also thankful for the Savior Jesus Christ because without him, none of anything we do would be possible. Everything Jesus Christ did, was a miracle for those people that he affected (which happens to be every one of us). I am thankful for his never-ending love which allows us through trial and error, to learn, grow, and become better people, but still allows us the opportunity to live forever with our families in Heaven. I love this Gospel and the sweet peace and joy that it brings. I love sharing it with others and I know that this is the best choice I made in my life to come and serve the people here in New Jersey.

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

We helped some awesome senior missionaries move.

This is what happens when you can't communicate with your hair cutting lady. I asked for an "American style" haircut with it short on the sides and long on top...

Monday, March 7, 2016

March 7, 2016--Week 30

Hey everyone,

This has been a fantastic week mostly, but slightly discouraging. The beginning of this week I was having a really hard time. We have been working incredibly hard all transfer (the last 4ish weeks) to find and teach someone who is ready to be baptized. But we have not had any success and we have been getting hundreds of doors slammed in our face day after day. After a while it really does wear on you. Not to mention, my last district meeting went so bad that I felt like a total failure in pretty much all areas of missionary work I have been assigned to. My Korean has been suffering under increased stress and lack of time or energy to put into adequate studies. And I am in a position I can not immerse myself in the language as my companion needs to learn English too. So needless to say, this week in the beginning was very hard for me. I actually called the zone leaders and ranted about how nothing I do ever brings about any good and how I was unable to see any good from what I have been doing. Then they gave me their two cents and gave me the idea to just stop thinking about, talking about, or believing anything that wasn't all positive and to change my perspective and look only for the good. I figured I would try it and just see what happens. So Tuesday, I didn't say or think much. And Wednesday too. Then Thursday, I was about to give up, but I learned a lesson I needed. The Lord does not test us above that which we are able. As I was about to turn around and give up, I was lifted up and the Lord took my burdens away. That day, on Thursday, Elder Kim and I met with a man named Christopher and a different time we met a man named Richard and were able to have really great lessons in which they both expressed that they wanted to be baptized. 

I truly believe that this is a miracle. If anyone knew them, they would understand that this is truly no coincidence. I am convinced that the Lord gives us trials to the very extent at which we can no longer bear them in order for us to learn to trust in his will better. As my faith was tested, and as I was about to turn back, I was delivered from my trials. After that, this week we have continued to find success after success and I am truly thankful for the tender mercies of the Lord. I love this Gospel! I'm thankful for the opportunity to share it because I know that it is true and through it we can be so much happier than any other way. 

If you could pray for me and my ability to manage my time, energy, and stress better in order to be able to study Korean harder, I would be truly grateful. I am really struggling to be able to deal with my inadequacy to communicate with a people that I love, and want to share the Gospel with, but am currently not able to do so well. On Sunday, in fast and testimony meeting, I got up to bear my testimony in Korean and I can honestly say it was the most humbling experience I have had thus far with the language. I knew I needed to communicate something to the members, but I was incapable of doing so. This is very, very frustrating to me and I really need to be able to do so. I believe in the power of prayer and I would appreciate any prayers in that area. 

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

Some random Russian guy who we knocked into his house let us in and gave us roses. Then kicked us out. Not to sure what inspired him to give us flowers, but it was a blessing and it made our night.

Mom, I am so glad that I learned how to cook from you before the mission... I can eat real food and that is a blessing.