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