Spring Greetings from the Nielsen Family!


Dear Friends and Family,

Spring is Marching forward! We want to give you a brief update to let you know what is happening in our part of the world.

When The Saints Come Marching In!

First, we are excited to be welcoming a team of  8-10 YWAMers, led by our daughter Destiny, into our home next week. These dedicated young people have been ministering in places like Albania, Egypt, Nepal, South Africa, and elsewhere. It is going to be a real treat to have them with us for the week, but we are a bit short on funds and would ask that you prayerfully consider making a donation so we can adequately host these troopers!


We have wonderful neighbors all around us in our Chapala neighborhood. They know we are Christians and that we have worked over the years serving people throughout the community. Our neighbors across the street have often observed Noah lifting his hands in prayer from our second-level patio. One neighbor recently said, “When I see you Noah lifting his hands from my living room, I start praying too!”

Making Our Neighborhood A Better Place

It’s quite amazing to see the transformation the Lake Chapala community has undergone these past 20 years. When we first arrived in 2001 and began hosting ministry teams, Chapala was a different place. Orphanages and ministries that we helped launch didn’t exist. Today they are thriving.  Evangelism, home building projects, and efforts to expose Chapalans to missions have borne lasting fruit. Lake Chapala (the largest lake in Mexico)  had a low water level. We would have to walk a half mile on dirt (dried up shoreline) to reach the water. But today the lake thrives and in general, we see the blessing of God upon the community. God is faithful!

In November, Stasia came up with an idea, invested her birthday money and rallied our neighbors across the street to help  renovate the little community park that we all share. In years past it has been a place where kids have peddled drugs, had middle-of-the-night sexual encounters, smoked, and carried on. Our goal was to not only clean this spot up, but pray over it and make it a place where children and parents could be taught skills, have movie nights and constructive community gatherings. The mayor of Chapala heard about the project and met with our little group, asking how he could help. We requested that he use his influence to restore the fence and trim the trees, which he did. This park is now a place of beauty and peace where sewing classes, movie nights, and godly fellowship can happen moving forward!

 A Blast from the Past

Many of you know we lived and worked in Australia for a number of years in the early 90s. John led a team called “Strike A Light” which was a year-long “School of Evangelism” that presented the Gospel in public schools and universities through drama, testimony, and special religious education classes. In those days, the church had a remarkable open door to minister in public schools. We had the freedom to boldly proclaim the Gospel, lead students to Christ, and channel them to local churches in the neighborhood. The public school system welcomed that, knowing that the church historically played a vital role in education in Australia and was a good influence. To give you an example of the scope of the ministry: in our first year, Strike A Light (SALT) conducted 118 large group assemblies in 91 schools, hosted 16 camps, and staffed 8 special religious education classes. Thousands of kids made commitments to Christ and youth groups were loaded with now converts as our team made its way through schools all across Australia.

Our SALT teams had so many married couples emerge—well over a dozen—that we took on the nickname “Strike A Match!” A number of them have gone in to pursue full-time ministries. We are not aware of a single couple that is not still together. God is faithful!

Two young people who were on our 1993 SALT team, Matt and Kate, came with us on the international trip to Mexico. We flew from Sydney to San Diego, rented a couple of vans, and drove our team of 12 Aussies and Americans across the border into Mexico. We took the coastal route, and one of our stops was through Mazatlan. There in Mazatlan, Kate and Matt not only fell in love with each other but they fell in love with Mexico. In the following years, they returned to Mazatlan to work with a mission base there. Just last month they made a permanent move to Mazatlan to work full time on the Mexican coast to “Know God and Make Him Known.” We remember them as kids. Now they are seasoned veterans!

The Bible is laced with precious promises. Two that stand out as I write are John 15:16

“You did not choose Me, but I chose you and appointed you that you should go and bear fruit and that your fruit should remain, that whatever you ask the Father in My name He may give you.

A second promise that comes to mind is Ephesians 2:10

 “For we are God’s masterpiece. He has created us anew in Christ Jesus, so we can do the good things he planned for us long ago.

We appreciate so much your participation in our journey. Your gifts, prayers and emotional support mean more than ever in these challenging days. Until next time, may the Lord Bless and Keep you!

In His Mighty Grip,



Gallery: Our Neighborhood Mini Park Renovation