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