Keeping up the work!

Written by Elder Nykamp on November 2, 2015

A lot of the food here is really easy to cook it just is going to be a little expensive to do because it is all fish! I have eaten crab and clam and squid and basically anything that you can think of!

Our new apartment will eventually have the necessary things like beds, desks, and a stove. But we don’t have a microwave or a refrigerator. Right now I am without a base to my bed and we don’t have dressers. I am literally living out of my suitcases! We have hangers to be able to hang up my shirts and pants but the rest of my things are in my suit cases hah!

This letter is going to be a shorter one because I don’t have a whole lot more to say. haha This week was a little hard because we spent a lot of time looking for new investigators but we had a hard time finding them! Saturday we found some pretty cool people but they weren’t able to go to church and so we are going to see if this week we can help them go so that we can help them progress! We are really working hard but we had a little bit of a hard time in the first of the week! We are pretty excited to be able to work this week and we are going to be focusing on finding new people! Also I don’t have any more time to write hahaha sorry! Love you all!

Love Elder Nykamp

A Perfect Family!

Written by Elder Nykamp on October 26, 2015
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Lots of the elders from the states have lots of problems with the food here but I have been blessed in that sense. I almost haven’t had problems! It is pretty cool to have that blessing of a stomach that can handle any kind of food! But this week I have found that my stomach doesn’t accept very well hot sauce! I have started liking it because the Mexicans love spicy food and so I learned how to like it with them! And so I started to eat a lot of it! But it gave me intestinal issues haha! Little by little my stomach is getting used to it! It almost doesn’t do anything to me now! I am going to be a completely different person when I get home with what I like to eat because now I love fish and other stuff that I just didn’t like before!

It’s been pretty cool to have all Latin companions. I have learned a lot of patience to be able to understand how to work with them a lot better and have a good relationship! My companions name is Elder Arratia he is from Bolivia! Haha another Bolivian companion! He is from La Paz like elder Apaza! Yes I am in the same apartment and no haha we haven’t received anything yet we are still waiting! (Refrigerator, beds, dressers)

This week the family we have been working with got baptized. There are 4 of them. We are also working with the grandparents of the family. They have plans to get married in November and so we are going to try to help them get baptized in that month! We have a family that we are going to rescue this next week and then we have a part member family that we are working with. The mom has a baptism date but we think that she is going to change to a different ward and so we will see if she gets baptized here or in the other ward here in Manta haha!

My shoes are all working well right now. I am just using one pair my blacks. I don’t know if I told you but one of the pairs I lost hahahahaha I left them in a taxi.... So I have just been using the one for this last little bit!

The last time I went to the temple was like a month ago! When we went to Guayaquil for the family history thing! We are going to go to Guayaquil pretty soon to be able to have the reunion of the mission!

Love you all lots! It is super crazy that Michael is sooo tall! You are all going to be shocked at how much weight I have gained. Haha I now have 190 pounds hahaha! Lots of really good food here!

This week was awesome because the family got baptized and everything turned out awesome! I got to baptize 2 and Elder Jimenez the other two! Elder Jimenez baptized the mom and the son. I baptized the 2 daughters! It was super cool because that night 7 people were baptized and so this Sunday there were 7 confirmations! It was super great! Love you lots!

Love Elder Nykamp

A Mission is the Best Experience!

Written by Elder Nykamp on October 19, 2015
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It is amazing how important it is for us to have testimonies of the church. It gives us the opportunity to be able to make something of our lives! Without the church we just have all of our focus on the worldly things and that doesn’t bring very much joy into our lives! It is amazing to see how the people change their lives to be able to receive the blessings of God. Also to be able to just be happier people!

I am good everything is going good! My health is good I haven’t had any problems as of late! Elder Jimenez is really good we were working really well together and really having a lot of success! I had a change today and am now with Elder Arratia. He was with the other Elder of the ward! Elder Jimenez just went to another ward here in the stake.

This Saturday we have a baptism of a family of 4 which is going to be super cool they are all ready and we are pretty excited to be able to have those baptisms this week! We are also working with a couple other families that are really cool but one only went to church for an hour and the other couldn’t go this week because they went on a trip. So we are going to see what we can do this week to help them go to church and then accept a baptism date! We already have a lady with a baptism date for the 14th of November and she is ready because she has like 20 years going to church she just couldn’t ever get baptized because of problems with her husband. She had also been traveling and we were very lucky to be able to find her because she is super good! Her son is also a less active whom we are going to be able to rescue!

I have loved every second of being able to work here in the mission and I hope that I will be able to keep on working hard. The mission is one of the best experiences ever because I have been able to study the scriptures and learn more about the plan that God has for us. I also have learned how important that really is for us! It has been amazing I am truly grateful for the Savior and his atonement and the chance it gives us to repent! I am also very grateful for the Book of Mormon which helps us learn more about Jesus Christ! I just hope that I can be a good servant and be able to receive the blessings that he has prepared for me and my family! I love you all thanks for everything

Love Elder Nykamp

Loving the mission!

Written by Elder Nykamp on October 12, 2015
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Showing action is something that we are always telling the people here! That having faith means that you have to have works or show action like it says in the epistle of James!

This last Saturday the husband of our first convert here got baptized! He is super good and was super excited to be able to get baptized! And so now we are going to give them the goal of getting sealed in the temple! We learned a lot about family history especially about how important it is for the retention of the converts! It gives them lots of spiritual experiences and they can go to the temple which is our goal for everyone! Pres. Packer said in his last conference talk that everything we do in the church has the vision of seeing a couple get sealed in the temple! Another of our converts got married to his girlfriend who is a member and so we also have been making goals so that they can get sealed in the temple!

Conference was super awesome we are able to go to every session and listen to it completely focused on being able to learn more! We were able to take the family of 6 that we are hoping to have baptized this month if not the 17th the 24th! They are really good and are very excited and have a testimony of the church. We just have to receive permission from the president of the mission before they can get baptized! This ward is actually really big there are usually 170 more or less. It is a really productive ward with a lot of really good members as well as a lot of really receptive investigators!

Every lunch the members feed us something. It is pretty cool. They have a lot of really good food here in Manta. Everyone says that Manta has the best food and I believe it! It’s awesome! There are not set ward missionaries here that I know of but there are some members that help us with doing visits!

This week was super weird because I had to go to Guayaquil to have my visa extended for the next year! It was strange because that means that I don’t have a whole lot of time left in the mission! I don’t like it at all! I would be ok with staying here for more than just 2 years. It is super amazing to be able to help the people, study a lot about the gospel, and see how amazing the gospel is in our lives and how it should be the most important thing for us! I have loved this time and it has gone by wayyyyyy to fast. I feel like it wasn’t to long ago that I started! I just hope to be able to stay strong and complete everything that God has planned for me! I love you guys!

Love Elder Nykamp

Spreading the Gospel

Written by Elder Nykamp on October 5, 2015

This week was really good. We are working hard and having some really good results! We are pretty excited because we have a family that is ready to get baptized. We just have to see for what date! It will be this month we hope! We just have to receive permission from the mission president and they are ready! They have a testimony that the church is true and they went to 2 sessions of conference and really enjoyed it! We have only 2 weeks working with them and they are already ready to be baptized. They are a really great prepared family! The family consist of Grandparents, a daughter, and her 3 kids. The grandparents have to get married before they can be baptized. We think that they are going to get baptized in Nov. but the mom and her kids are going to get baptized this month if everything goes well. Really cool experience is that we answered the prayer of the Grandma! She had prayed the day before we knocked on her door to receive help to be able to support the problems that she is facing right now! We were looking for a family less active that we never found when we knocked on her door. We then taught her a lesson and then we didn’t pass by to teach her again for a week. We passed by again and taught her and her granddaughter a couple times and they went to church and they liked it. So much that the daughter told her mom and then the mom started to listen to us and now they are all going to church and are really excited to learn more! They have a testimony that this is the true church which is really awesome! I feel very blessed to have been able to have had that experience! We have another family with another really awesome experience! The other family we found after we had been fasting to find more people to teach which was super sweet! The husband started to listen to us first and was very receptive but the wife said that she was another religion and didn’t want to listen to us. After a couple of visits she told us of an experience that she had that made her want to listen to us and also join the church. When we first went to their house we were with a member but she saw 4 people when we were only 3 and so she started to prepare food for 4 and also drinks for 4 until she noticed that we were only 3! That was a really cool experience to hear and now the whole family is listening to us and they are progressing to be baptized in Nov. I think but we will see when it happens! Also a big help was that her sister is a member of the church and her son just left like 3 weeks ago on a mission to Brazil and so her sister has given her a lot of support to listen to us! It has been a super cool experience! Also the husband of the lady that we baptized is also getting ready to get baptized this month! We have a lot of people that are progressing and it has been really great! Thanks for everything love you all!

Elder Nykamp

An answer to Prayer

Written by Elder Nykamp on September 28, 2015
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Quote: Believe. Rise up. Be faithful. And make the most of the remarkable day in which we live *Jeffery R. Holland
That is a really cool quote and it is very true that we need to make the best of every day! We just need to do all that is within our own power so that we can be washed clean through the Atonement of Jesus Christ! He loves us and we just need to do our part so that we can receive the blessings that he has prepared for us! This really is an amazing experience to be able to serve the Lord as a full time missionary!

The next transfers are in the middle of October I am not exactly sure when. We will be trying to take as many investigators to church as possible! We will be going to every session of general conference. My companion and I are also really having a lot of success as missionaries as well! We still basically don’t have anything in the house. Only the things that are absolutely necessary! When we go to the beach we run, we go in the morning at like 5:30 and we run for an hour. We also take photos and then we have to be home at like 7 so that at 8 we can be studying like we need to be! We have 30 min. every morning to exercise but we eat so much that we might start to run in the morning a little bit more. I am not sure but I think that I have grown a little bit more. We will have to see when I get back!

One of our families that we are working with is progressing very well. They have plans to be baptized the 10th of October. It is a family of 4. A mom and her 3 kids. The oldest is 20 then 16 then 13! They are super cool and they are progressing very well. We are just trying to help them feel a little bit more prepared to be baptized that date! This week was super good because we were able to complete our goal of investigators in church. Our goal was to have 5 and we had 5! The family of 4 that I just mentioned and then the husband of the lady that we baptized in August. He started to listen to us this week and we are going to see if this week we can invite him to be baptized in October as well! We are pretty excited about the different people that we have progressing this week! We do need to find more less actives to be able to help come back to church but we are working hard with that! The cool story of the week is about the family we are teaching right now. The grandma of the family told us that we answered her prayer. She was in a very hard time and was passing through a lot of problems so she prayed for help from God. After her prayer we knocked on her door that day! That was super cool that we were able to answer her prayer! They are a really cool family and we are hoping that everything will turn out good!!

Thanks for everything! Remember that this is the true church and that President Thomas S. Monson is a prophet of God and that conference is an amazing time to be able to receive answers to questions that we have! Love you all!

Love Elder Nykamp

It is Awesome!

Written by Elder Nykamp on September 21, 2015
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It is pretty weird to think that all the year older guys are now home from their missions! That is pretty crazy!

That was a super good lesson in priesthood this week. President Benson really gave a lot of amazing insights about pride and it was a really cool and interesting class this week to see what the people think about it. I really did learn a lot! That is a super cool quote by C.S. Lewis as well and it is so true!

Haha the mission is a grind and I am constantly exhausted at night from walking all day under the sun but I would never trade doing this for anything else. It is awesome! We had our baptism this week and it was pretty cool! But we have to remember that success doesn’t come from baptisms but from converts! If they don’t keep on going to church and then have callings it is for nothing!

There are a lot of new fruits here like a star fruit the tomate de arbol. The oranges here are completely different we eat them green or yellow they don’t go orange! And the way you eat them is pretty cool as well! You peel only part of the skin off and then cut off a little bit of the top and then you like drink it! It’s hard to explain I will send pictures next week of how the process works! There is almost no grass here. It is pretty weird. It is all streets and dirt! The forest part of Ecuador is on the east side of the country not here on the coast!

Manta is one of the best parts of the mission from what I have heard and I believe it! It’s awesome! I have loved my time here. The people are really nice and the people like to listen a lot! We are really just having a great time here. It has been really hard physically but it has been an amazing experience! I have loved it!

This week was really good because we were able to have our 2 baptisms and we were also able to have a family of 4 in the chapel. There was a disappointing part as well, we have 2 other families that we are working with and they couldn’t go to church. It was super sad because one is a family of 6 and they couldn’t go because the mom of the family has a niece that is having some major health problems. She might be dying soon and so we are hoping that the next week we will be able to have the 2 families in the church! Also this next week is going to be really cool because we are going to have a capacitation about family history and we are going to be going to the temple. So that is going to be super cool! I am pretty excited about that actually because for whatever reason family history had never interested me. It gives me a lot of shame to say that. I hope that by having this capacitaiton I will be able to do more of this very important work! That is all for this week thanks for everything love you all lots!

Elder Nykamp

Mariachi Night!

Written by Elder Nykamp on September 14, 2015
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It is pretty weird to think that I have already had a year and that it is time for all my friends to start coming home. It’s also strange that others are starting to leave for the mission. It doesn’t seem very real that I have already had so much time. I wouldn’t mind the chance to start it all over again so that I can have a better start! But, there was a reason that the start of my mission had to be so hard and I am forever grateful for it!

That is super cool that the football season is going so well and that all the games are so exciting! I am also very glad that Rob’s mountain bike riding and Michael’s soccer games are going so well! It is pretty weird to hear that the weather is changing because here it is the same every day! I don’t feel like the time of year is changing because it is always hot! I don’t feel like the year is progressing! It is a really weird experience! The only change in temperature that I have seen is when there are a lot of clouds. It isn’t super-hot and so it’s pretty nice when there are clouds! But other than that there isn’t a lot of change in the weather here in Manta! Haha ya I don’t sweat as much unless it is a day unusually hot. Ya I have gotten used to the humidity and the sun here in Manta. It isn’t so bad now. When I first got here my shirt was drenched in sweat after walking for an hour under the sun haha! We are in the same area and we just got a new house. It is a good little house with three rooms and a bathroom and so we are going to be able to live well in this house! We just need to receive our new refrigerator and stuff because right now there isn’t all the stuff we need. We are just waiting to receive it all!

This week was a good week. We were able to find 2 new families to work with that are actually pretty receptive only they weren’t able to go to church this last week! But we were able to have our activity. The Mexican Night! It was super cool because the bishop is a mariachi! That was really sweet and we were o able to eat tacos and guacamole and stuff like that. It was super sweet and we were also able to secure our baptisms for this Saturday the 19th! We are very excited for them and we hope that there won’t be any problems so that everything works out great! Sorry that they email is short but I don’t have a lot of time this week Love you lots!!

Love Elder Nykamp

Mission happy!

Written by Elder Nykamp on September 7, 2015
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There is pizza here and at times we eat it. It isn’t as good as in the states but it is cool! We buy it once in a while because we don’t have a lot of extra money. Every once in a while we eat in the mall like Carl’s Junior! It is pretty cool! We have to do so many bus and taxi rides that our money usually goes to that!

We moved houses this last week. It is a nice sized house. It’s just my companion and me. There are 2 other Elders in the same building. We live on the 2nd floor and they live on the first floor! It is a pretty cool house and it is going to be nice to live with only my companion. Things are just calmer with only 2 in the house. We are pretty far away from our last house because our other house wasn’t even in our sector. It was touching the sector and so now it is going to be a lot easier to take buses. Before we had to take 2 buses at times to get places but now we are going to be able to only take 1! The mission home is in Guayaquil and I am like 3 1/2 hours away!

In this sector we have been able to find a lot of people that have been prepared! We are going to be having 2 baptisms the 19th of September! And then if everything goes well another the 26th! The 2 on the 19th are both references from a family in the ward and the other is the brother of the lady that we baptized the 29 of August!

This last week was really good actually. We have been working very hard with the 3 baptism dates that we have and they look like they are going to be able to be baptized those dates. We are now working hard to find other people to start working with. We actually found a really cool family this last week! We contacted them like Wednesday but we were able to actually teach them Sunday! They really look like they are going to be able to progress because they have family that are members. One of their cousins is going to serve a mission in Brazil! We are very excited to work with them and see if they are going to be able to progress!

I have loved every second of the mission and I am grateful every moment for the opportunity that my Heavenly Father gave me! The things that I have learned here I will apply for the rest of my life and I am very grateful for it! I now understand why everyone says that it is one of the hardest 2 years of your life but it is also one of the most rewarding 2 years!

I’m looking forward to a really cool thing that we are going to do this Saturday. It’s a Mexican Night because my companion is Mexican. We are going to have an activity and we are going to do tacos and have a mariachi band and all that kind of stuff. It’s going to be super cool! We are really excited! That is all for today thanks for writing every week!

Love Elder Nykamp

To the Valley View 2nd Ward

Written by Elder Nykamp on September 6, 2015
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The mission is the greatest thing that could ever happen to anyone! It is like all the apostles say that every good thing that has happened in my life is thanks to the mission! I am very grateful for the chance I have to be able to help my testimony grow! I have been able to realize the importance of keeping the commandments every day! It has been amazing as well to see the changes that have taken place in the lives of the people that I have taught with my companions! It’s always important to remember that it isn’t what I say that helps the people be converted, it’s whether or not they can feel that this is true! Like what happened with Lamen and Lemuel, they saw angels but they didn’t believe because they were past feeling like Nephi told them! (1 Nephi 17:45) I know that this is the true Church and that The Book of Mormon is the word of God and that Joseph Smith was a prophet of God!