Monday, December 27, 2010

Christmas in Mexico

Hola Familia!

It was soo good to talk to all of you, I loved hearing all of your voices. I felt a little bad that there wasn’t enough time to talk to each of you individually, but I had my picture of the family and I was thinking about all of you. Talking to all of you made me think about all the things we do together as a family for Christmas, and it made me realize how much I love all of you. I really missed hearing the Polar Express, but there will be plenty of time for that when I get back. Thank you sooo much for the Christmas package, I loved everything in it. Music will be nice, it really does help bring the Spirit, I listened to Donny Osmond’s Christmas music and it reminded me of home. I listened to Go Climb that Mountain too and it made me think of Mom. This week was a little hard just because of all the Christmas things I was thinking about, and all of the things we do on Christmas involve my family, and that’s really the only thing that I miss. A special thanks to Melissa for the muddybuddies.

Mom asked me what I like in care packages, and the truth is my favorite candies are tootsie rolls, chocolate covered raisins and star bursts, and muddybuddies. In relation to the pants that I said I needed, I want non pleated, pleated are hard to iron everyday...also there’s no rush because the truth is I have everything I need for now. At about the year mark it would be nice to have a few new shirts and garments because the one’s I have are already starting to be not so white. The truth is the best thing that you can send me are letters. I don’t know if I haven’t been getting them because of pouch or what, but Cameron you asked me to tell you if you missed a week and I haven’t gotten a letter from you for a while. I prefer that you (my immediate family) use email so that I can respond quickly, and so I know more or less when you wrote them.

Ok, to answer the questions this week, no I don’t carry PMG with me everyday, my bag isn’t big enough and we only carry the things that are essential to proselyting. I carry my triple and bible in Spanish, but most days I just carry my triple. I also carry pamphlets on the Restoration, the Plan of Salvation, the Gospel of Jesus Christ, The Family: A Proclamation to the World, and some of the commandments. I also carry my hymn book and a flashlight. Sometimes I take notes for my emails, but I don’t really use the little notebook, I should though, I think I’m going to start carrying it in a bag so that when something happens that I want to write about I can write it down.

Speaking of things that I want to write about I thought you would like to hear about how Christmas is in Mexico. For Christmas Eve, I ate Mole Rojo, I took a picture. It is really not good, but there isn’t really a choice so I ate it. There is a lot of drinking around Christmas, and a lot of drunk people in the streets. It is really sad, Christmas is the time when people should be with their families enjoying their company, but so many people get so wasted that they can’t find their way home for days, and don’t spend any time with their families at all. But on the upside, there are Christmas lights, not so many Christmas trees and Christmas music. I saw my first Mexican Santa in the plaza in San Juan the other day, it was kind of weird for me. On Christmas Day (it didn’t really feel like Christmas because I was wearing short sleeves) we had a Zone Activity where we went to a Retirement Home to sing and give gifts and visit with them. It was sooo cool, but soo sad at the same time. There were about 25 residents and all of them were so lonely. Some of them started crying when we started singing, and it wasn’t because we were singing well. Their families just kind of left them there and don’t visit them. Their teeth are decaying and their nailed are crusty with infection. They just can’t take care of themselves anymore and there isn’t really anyone there to take care of them. We sang Christmas hymns and them visited with them. I felt the Spirit really strongly, they are sons and daughters of God too. He loves them just as much as he loves us. Some of them have been there for 20 years. I felt sad, but at the same time happy that we could give them a gift on Christmas day.

As I was saying of the phone, we do not realize how blessed we are. We have a family that loves each other, we have our relative health, we have the Gospel of Jesus Christ. We have carpet, and heating, and an oven. I never realized how materially blessed we are in the US, but it is incredible. I can’t describe how blessed we are after some of the things I have seen. We don’t have to worry about our kids playing outside, we don’t have to worry about our house getting robbed or our husbands being held ransom. We have been given sooooooo much.

Another thing I wanted to write about will make Mom smile I think. On Sunday we were walking down the deserted street when out of nowhere Simon and Garfunkel started playing, the Sound of Silence. (Note from Peggy: How ironic...when Braden first called us on Christmas Eve we were cut off mid-sentence and all we heard was the sound of silence! That was the end of the phone call. We were blessed when he surprised us on Christmas day and called back to finish the call!) It was awesome, it was coming from the bell tower of a cathedral, and it made me think of Mom. I love Simon and Garfunkel. It also made me think of Casey.

Mom, sounds like you have your work cut out for you. I am sure you will love your new calling. Maybe this will make the time that I am gone pass more quickly for you.

I am so glad I got to hear Grandma’s voice. Grandma you have to keep doing all the things you are supposed to, I want to see you again when I get back. I don’t know if you can, or if you already do, but go to the temple every week. You will find answers and comfort there. It will make life easier.

Darci, Mom told me a little bit about your job success, I want to hear more because I was praying for that like you asked. I love you so much. Congrats on graduating, keep doing what your doing because you are obviously doing things right.

Dad, thanks for your email. I love you, thanks you your example. Children learn from their parents and the reason your kids are doing the right things is because they saw you do them first.

Melissa, I love you too. I loved hearing your voice, sorry I didn’t get to talk to you very much, but there will be more time later.

Kolby don’t waste all of your Christmas vacation on the computer. Practice your piano, read your scriptures, say your prayers, and do something nice for Melissa this week. Computers and friends will still be there after the break, enjoy the time you have with the family because it is short.

Cameron keep choosing the right. Be like Captain Moroni, bold and daring in keeping all the commandments because of an intense love of Christ. You are an awesome kid, just keep going.

Well, I love you all, I hope you had a merry Christmas because you deserve it.

Elder Nelson

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Simba and Mufasa

Querido Familia,

Well, it´s almost Christmas here and I´m still wearing short sleeves. It is usually 70 or 80 during the day here, but in the nights and in the mornings it is pretty cold. I sleep with a pair of shorts, my long pajama bottoms, socks, two shirts and my sweater. I use 4 blankets, it gets cold because here in Mexico we don´t have heating or cooling, and the heater that we have doesn´t work very well. But we make do. To answer Cameron and Kolby´s question, I am the same weight as when I left the MTC, 145 pounds, but I am getting fatter because we don´t really have time to exercise, my gut is growing instead of my muscles. Not that I´m obese, just not as defined. My bronchitis is doing well, I´m taking my pills and I feel normal again. I knew when we had to go get it checked out when Elder Llanos got tired of not being able to sleep because I was coughing all night, also my mucus was yellow and I just didn´t feel good. Yes there are farmacies here where I can get cough drops, but I don´t buy them...the cough syrup here is 96 pesos, I know that´s not a lot in the U.S., but that is a ton here.

Ok, here is the important part, I am going to call Friday, at 7 o clock here...I don´t know what time that is there. I am soooooooo excited to call. We got an announcement today that said we could use skype, but it´s too late to try to coordinate so I will just call on the telephone instead. (Note from Peggy: ARGHH!)
I can´t wait to hear your voices. I am at the point where I can deal with not being with you, but the thought of hearing your voice is just way awesome. I will use the card.

Elder Llanos was an awesome trainer, I have heard some stories about other missionaries and their trainers that make me really grateful for Elder Llanos. My new companion is Elder Garcia Capella, he is from Tijuana. I am not training yet, Elder Garcia is the new district leader here in Teotihuacan. The truth is I really didn´t get along with him very well the first couple of days because he likes to leave large chunks of time open ¨for God to fill¨¨. I like to always have plan, but he is teaching me a lot about learning to trust the Spirit and not our own plans. I still don´t agree with him on a lot of things, but I am learning. Our styles of working are very different and it was really hard. But I am working on my humility, he was assigned by Presidente, who was inspired by God, to be my companion. I still have a lot of things to learn, I only have 5 months in the mission, and only 2 in the field, and I think part of the reason why it is hard is because I miss Elder Llanos. But Elder Garcia is a good elder, and we are going to work hard, I am going to love him and we are going to baptize. He talks really fast, and mumbles a lot so I have a hard time understanding him, but I think this is going to help me because if I can understand him I can understand anyone. I saw Jase at Transfers, he looked a little tired, I think his trainer isn´t helping much. I have never eaten cow blood, nor have I been sick from food.

This week, tomorrow actually I get to go to the temple!!!!!! I´m a little nervous because it is going to be in Spanish, but I´m not that nervous. I love the temple sooo much. I miss it, in the MTC we went 20 times, but here the work is for the living. The temple is probably my favorite place on earth besides my home. Cameron, Kolby, Melissa, you want to go there, you want to experience all the blessings available. Prepare yourselves to go there, don´t let anything or anyone get in the way. It is a little piece of eternity.

I got your package!! The first one you sent. Elder Hall told me that packages only take 2 or 3 weeks to get here, but the secretaries take forever to send them out to us the the field. Thank you so much for the razor heads, I have been shaving with just one for 3 months and it is way nice to have them. Thank you so much for the fruit snacks, they were delicious and the candy corns too. They made me think of all those times we went to the corn maze as a family, and all those Halloweens in Richland. I think I will probably get the Christmas package you sent tomorrow, but if not don´t worry. It is still kind of surreal for me that I am actually in Mexico, that I am actually serving my mission. It doesn´t really seem real, like I might go home tomorrow and see all of you in a house that has hot water, and with food that isn´t way spicy. But something I do every night is look up at the stars. The stars and beyond has always been something that captured my imagination, the cosmos and all the secrets that it holds. How deep and profound the works of God are, and how I yearn to know every detail of the creation and the secrets of the universe one day. But there is a principle in that. You and I look up at the same night sky every night, you and I are connected by that. God in the heavens is our connection, and I am serving that God. When I am tired, or depressed, or I miss you guys, I look up at the sky and wonder what you are doing, and that you are probably looking up at the same night sky. Kind of like Mufasa and Simba from the Lion King. I love you all so much. That is something I never realized before my mission, how much I love you. But that is one of the many blessings that I am experiencing. I didn´t appreciate all of you enough before my mission, and that is one of the many things I am going to change when I get home. Cameron I have told you this before, but I wasn´t always the best brother, I didn´t treat you the way I should have...but I realize now that I love you, and we are going to hang out when I get home...but there are a lot of things that you and I have to do before that happens. Dad, I don´t think I asked your advice on enough things. Most of these things, in relation to Cameron and Dad were because I was a pretty prideful person, I didn´t need advice or brothers, but now I realize how prideful I was and how many things I missed out on as a result of it. I realize that family is the most important thing, there is nothing more important to me than living, and helping all of you live in such a way that we never have to be separated. Although we are separated now, we won´t be in the eternities, that is an awesome awesome thought.

My mom and dad on the trek were the Amparans, Jeff Perry and I pulled that stinking cart the whole trek, until it was flat and on asphalt, then the others decided that they wanted to help. (Note: this story has been told MANY times)

The work here is still a little hard. I am adjusting to my companion, and we are trying to get back to where we were before Elder Llanos left. I had to spend a week outside my area, and that is really rough for investigators. But the good news is that a family of 5 that we have been teaching showed up to church Sunday!! I have faith that if we work hard and give every effort, we will be rewarded with success.

Grandma Andy I got your letter, and I loved it. Thank you for your encouragement and love. I love you and Grandpa. I know that we didn´t get to see or visit each other as much as we would have like when I was growing up, but I love you both. I always loved going to visit you two. I pray for you two, and Uncle Dave and Uncle Doug also.

Well, It´s time to go again, but I love you all sooooo much. I pray for you everyday. I loved the picture of Cameron and Harrison, it reminded me of the good old days in Richland, sleep overs on the trampoline and man parties...which were always better than parties with girls. I got Sis. Ostlers letter and I am sending my letter to Jackson, and I sending one to Casey also, but who knows when it will get there because pouch is kind of unreliable. I love you all, read your scriptures every day, as a family and personally, say your prayers every day, as a family and personally. It is a commandment 3 Nephi 27:19 (I think, I don´t have my scriptures right now), and if we want to be a forever family we have to follow all the commandments. Talk to you Friday, give Chika a belly rub please.

Elder Nelson

Monday, December 13, 2010

Hello Family!

A lot of things have happened this week, and I don´t have very much time to write this week because the lady that cut our hair took forever. Big news of the week, Elder Llanos left for Peru. I have bronchitis, and we went to see the doctor on Wednesday at the MTC at the Mexico City Temple, (he gave me a presciption and everything is fine...don´t worry mom I feel fine and am taking my pills) On the way back, Presidente called us, and said "Elder Llanos I have a surprise for are going to spend the Christmas with your family, you will leave Saturday." We were kind of shell shocked. We spent Thursday doing all the things we needed to do before Elder Llanos left, and Friday I dropped him off at the Temple for his last day with Presidente. It all happened way fast. Transfers aren´t until tomorrow, so I have been staying with my Zone Leaders in Venta de Carpio since Friday waiting for transfers. I feel really weird without Elder Llanos, but he taught me everything I need to know, and I always knew that he would leave eventually.

Really quickly, the debit card entries were because they didn´t give us enough money last month and so we had to use money from home, Elder Llanos doesn´t have money from home, so we used mine. The good news is that they are going to reimburse me all the money I used, and they gave us more money this month. I forgot to tell you but Elder Warr is the new Secretary of finances, it helps to have friends in the offices. I don't need a sweater because I bought one, and Elder Llanos gave me his old one.

For Christmas I will be in Teotihuacan, I can use my calling card, and we don´t have a specific time that we have to call you guys, so it can be whenever works best for you. I can call to verify that you are there and ready for my call for a minute or two if it helps. Elder Guzman is from Monterrey Mexico, Elder Hall is from South Jordan Utah. They are really good, and I have loved learning and working with them this week.

This week the unusual food was carnitas. It is pork, but it is every single part of the pig, the ears, the eyes, everything. It is pretty good if you put lime and salsa on it, and usually you eat it in a tortilla.

I loved the pictures of Darci and Joe, and I´m glad that they are still having fun. Tell Darci not to worry, finals will take care of themselves, and if God wants her to get that job, she will get it it. If not then He has other plans for her. That is one thing I have learned here in the mission, God has plans for us, we just have to be patient and righteous and all will work out.

Melissa, thank you for your letter, I miss you a lot too. I see little Mexican girls in the street and they remind me of you. One thing I pray for everyday is that you will develop a testimony of Jesus Christ. I want you to be a beautiful person, and the rest will take care of itself. I love you so much Melissa, read the Book of Mormon everyday, don´t miss a day. It is the best book ever written, and has much more importance than any of us realize.

No, I have not gotten mugged yet, but they say that going to Mexico City and not getting robbed is like going to Thanksgiving and not eating Turkey...and I will be sure to tell you when it happens.

I don´t care when my Christmas package gets here mom. It´s the thought that counts and it doesn´t really feel like Christmas here anyways. I think I´m going to get the first package that you sent tomorrow, Elder Warr told me that it is in the offices. I love you so much, thank you for everything you do, you are an incredible mother. Dad thanks for your letter,


Elder Nelson

Monday, December 6, 2010

3 John 1:4

Hello Family!

This week went by sooo fast. There were a lot of things that happened. But first I have good news and bad news. The good news is that I get to call home the 24th or 25th of this month, either day at whatever time works best for you and me. I only get 45 minutes, that is the bad news. The way it works is I am going to give you the number of the chapel where we will call from and then you will need to call me so that the Church doesn’t have to pay for the call. Or, actually, I don’t know if my phone card will work, but I will check on it and let you know. I am soooo excited for that phone call, but I think Mom knows how I feel. I feel like I have been gone forever, but at the same time it feels like I just got out of the Acadia with my bags, turned, said good bye (not really knowing what good bye meant) and walked up the sidewalk into the MTC. Time works out really weirdly here. On the 11th (Saturday) I complete 5 months in the mission. That’s a long time, it doesn’t seem like I’ve been gone for that’s almost a quarter of my mission. Weird.

Ok, the picture did not take up too much room, and I enjoyed the picture. It seems like Chika would be the one who doesn’t need warmth because she has so much insulation. I like pictures, the only pictures I have of you guys are the one we took at the hospital with Grandpa. No I have not gotten the package yet, but we will receive pouch within a week or two and I am almost positive that I will get it then.

For baptisms, we have them in the RS room just like the U.S., except that in this chapel the RS room only holds about 20 people, or 30 max. But the room is usually full. The ward is pretty good about supporting new members if we have used members during the conversion process. But if not, then we struggle sometimes. The Ward here is good, but the people are just so busy with work and life that it’s hard to get the members involved sometimes. For FHE, well...we don’t have it. We work on Mondays from 6 till 9, unless we have an FHE with an investigator or recent convert.

Speaking of recent converts the Familia Martinez Avila is doing really well. Jose Luis blessed the Sacrament for the first time Sunday, and they are all doing well. They are all reading the scriptures, the Book of Mormon, as a family and individually and they are saying their family prayers. They are the definition of someone who ¨´knew not the truth only because they knew not where to find it.¨´ I have seen such an incredible change in their lives, the Spirit is in their home. Their family is closer and they are much happier. They are pretty poor, their business (aztec/teotihucano art/gift) store isn´t dong that well, but they are working hard and putting their trust in God. Their daughter in the wheelchair is named Ana Karen. She is a twin, but the twin died at birth and Ana Karen suffered severe brain damage. She can´t talk, or move on her own. She can make sounds, and she has certain sounds she makes when she is content,angry...etc. Something really interesting is that each time we came to teach a lesson to them she would make her content and happy sounds, a lot. She knew we were sent from God to heal and help her family.

In relation to playing, we get to do that too. On Mondays only of course. Two weeks ago we had a zone activity where we went to a Fun Center. Basically Triple Play, bowling (I got the highest score in the zone with a 93, kinda lame, but there were a lot of people who had never bowled before in their lives! I guess it’s not very common in Mexico), mini golf...but there was an ice skating rink. I ice skated in Mexico!! I have pictures that I will send. I think I can send my SD card through pouch, but I need to put all of my pictures on my flash drive first, then the SD card will take a really long time to get to you guys, but that´s just how things work here. Also today we went and played soccer in Ojo de Agua with the zone. It is kind of weird for me, because usually I am pretty decent in sports, but I am not very good at soccer. We play on basketball size courts at the churches that are it´s like futsal without the walls. I´m getting better and I am starting to like playing portero (goalie). Elder Llanos and I slept at the Zone leaders apartment because it is 2 hours of travel and we had to be there at 9 in the morning. I love my zone leaders, Elder Guzman and Elder Hall. They are really good missionaries. We have fun here in the mission, but the number one priority is the work. If anything distracts us from the work then it is not worthy of our time or attention. I only have 2 years to give, I need to give 2 years, not 2 years with the exception of Mondays or Tuesdays.

Elder Llanos has a supportive family that is very excited to have him back in Peru. The only bad part is that they keep telling him how excited they are to have him home, and he just wants to work until the end. It is kind of a distraction. Before his mission he was in the Navy in Peru, but because of health reasons he had to quit. He studied Banking Administration before his mission, and will return to his studies and his job in a bank.

Mom and Dad, I have a scripture that I found for you this week. 3 John 1:4. I love this scripture and I think it applies to you 2 really well. The truth is this week has been really hard, we haven´t baptised for 2 weeks, and all of our numbers were bad. We had to drop 6 investigators because they weren´t completing their homework. It´s really hard to drop people when you come to love them. But one thing I know is that I am not called to fail. You did not raise me that way, and that is not how I live my life. I want to become the best missionary in the mission. I want to be successful. I will be successful. Thank you for raising me to be successful.

Grandma Nelson I love you too. Thank you for your email. I pray for you everyday and I know that Grandpa is proud of you. He is waiting for you, but he wants you to be 100 percent faithful to the end so you can join him in the Celestial kingdom.

I love you all, thanks so much for your support, I pray for you, each of you individually everyday.


Elder Nelson