Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Jesus en Pesebre (Away in a Manger)


Feliz Navidad from Mexico!


Dear Family,                                                                                                        

My little tree
The dinner was really good. There were funeral potatoes and ham and turkey and punch and Costco rolls. To top it all off there was a chocolate pudding pie. It was really good and I realize that we are really spoiled seeing as how last year for Christmas dinner we had mole rojo...not an appetizing Christmas dinner. One of President Hicken’s daughters came to visit for the holidays and it was so strange to hear little kids speaking in English.  Actually when we were taking the metro back home that night I was just thinking to myself  "I can´t believe I´m actually a missionary and that I am actually in Mexico. Life is good." It is still not quite real to me that I am a real missionary or that I am really in a different country so far away. It is all just like a fairy tale.

First of all make sure you don´t tell anyone about my new companion until Tuesday because no one is supposed to know. As for why he is going home before me...that´s just kind of normal for me now. I have only been with a missionary younger that me one time...when I trained. He goes home one change before me, but I will not be with him until he goes home I don´t think. I think I will probably be with him about 3 months or 2 changes and then I will go out into the field again. That is not that alarming because I knew when I got transferred in to Campestre that I would be here for a really long time so I am just loving every moment I get here. 
Missionary Christmas Decor

As for the business major...well I just don´t really know what I want to do anymore so I figure business is a good place to be until I decide...I just have been thinking about what I really want in life and I don´t know if I want to be a slave of a hospital or a pager or things like that. Here in Mexico you can really see the hardship it is on a family when a father is always working...that´s not what I want. 

Mom sorry for opening my package early,....but in the mission and really in all of Mexico Christmas is a day just like any other...so I figured opening it early was the same as opening it on Christmas. That´s how I justified it anyways. But it did make me happy. We did make the ginger bread house...I will send pictures next week. 

Actually one thing I forgot to tell you in the phone call was about what we did on Christmas. Here everyone celebrates the 24th and not really the 25. (That is because everyone goes to parties on the 24th and gets drunk and stays up until 6 or 7 in the morning so the 25 is really more of a sleeping day) On the 24th we went to a family’s home for dinner. But before dinner we went with them to the house of a poorer (less active) family in the ward. The family had bought rotissere (Who knows how to spell that anyways) chickens and salad and rolls and cookies and had brought along a bunch of toys for the kids. The poorer family had 3 kids and 2 sobrinos (nephews). They live in 2 room house with a roof of lamina and a wooden door that is broken in half.  They were peeling apples for Christmas dinner when we got there. We gave them the dinner and the toys and sang "Jesus en Pesebre" (the Christmas hymn that talks about a manger...I don´t remember what it is called in English). It was soo cool. By the end the father of the poor family was crying and they looked at the dinner in disbelief. The Spirit was so strong (the true spirit of Christmas) and the next day they came to church for the first time in a long time. I was so inspired by this family with whom we ate, I want to do that every year. Then we had to run home to get home on time so they wrapped up our dinner and we ate it at home. 

The Familia Martinez-Avila at the Temple 12.21.11
I sent a picture of the Martinez-Avila family. I don´t think I have ever been as happy as I was in the sealing room that day. It was an incredible joy looking around and seeing all my old friends form Teotihuacan and just thinking "this is how eternity will be". We will be there with all our old friends and we will just be so happy. I know that the family Martinez Avila will make it there and that I will build my celestial house right next to theirs. That is true happiness.

We had a combined Sacrament with the other ward in the building Casas Aleman and it was nice. Very stressful because none of our investigatores showed up...but our recent convert Antonio spoke and most of our other recent converts were there. The songs are all the same as the English hymnal...there are a few less and a few that are different...but basically all the same. The one thing that Mexicans do is they always have a piñata for Christmas. There were a lot of groups of neighbors that got together to break the piñata.
Well I love you all so much, I hope you are happy. Elder Bringhurst has to go pack so we have to go. 

Monday, December 19, 2011

Amen and Hallelujah!


Dear Family,

I did get my package when I went to the temple on Wednesday!! Thank you so much for everything you put in it. The hot chocolate is so good in the mornings when it is cold and the sweater is really nice. I also loved the BYU shirt, got to keep the pride alive. I´m convincing the missionaries one by one to go there after the mission. Also I set up the Christmas tree, I was actually going to buy a tree so I´m glad you thought of that. Melissa thank you for the muddy buddies I think of you everytime I eat them. I also got the mini PMG, thank you for that. The other package hasn´t gotten here yet but it probably will either this week or next week and I will let you know. 

Well, I hope this whole Skype thing works out. Have your questions ready because 45 minutes will go by quickly. If the internet doesn´t work very well I will still call you. I can´t believe that 7 months have passed by since mother´s day....crazy how that works. 

The temple was incredible. It has been a full year since I got to go last time and it was really interesting to enter. Outside the temple is on a busy street where loud buses and honking horns abound....walking in the horns and buses slowly fade into nothing and a wall of peace and spirit nails you. You start feeling good, happy, carefree...a smile leaps to your face and you don´t even know why you are smiling but you just feel good. I guess I had forgotten what it was like to be surrounded by the Spirit in the house of God. It was like I could think more clearly. It was so awesome to recharge and rebound to go back out and work like crazy again. Speaking of the temple, the familia Martinez Avila is getting sealed on Wednesday!!!!!! At 2pm I will be in the sealing room and I am sooo excited. I haven´t seen them in so long, but they are finally doing it!!!! I will send pictures next week.

We split the mission into the Pachuca Tulancingo (far away) half and the closer half. The far away half went to the temple and had their talent show Tuesday and we had ours Wednesday. After the temple sessions we ate in the cafeteria in the temple and we had a talent show, one skit or musical number from each zone. They were all pretty funny.

It is starting to get cold here. By cold I mean that it is cold enough to need a sweater in the morning to study, but by the time we leave to work the sun is shining and it actually gets kind of hot. Also at night it gets cold when the sun goes down. 

Elder Warr is one of the zone leaders of Pachuca Centro, so we see him every now and then in divisions and meetings and we talk to him every Tuesday, Thursday and Sunday for reports.  

Well this week we had a really good week. We found a bunch of families to teach. I always like teaching the family better than one or two individuals. Unfortunately some of them went out of town for the holidays, but they will be coming back this week or next week. We brought the Hernandez Muñoz family to church and they seem really excited. It is a mother and father (who just suffered a stroke or something like that) and their 2 daughters. They happen to live in the same building where the bishop lives. We will see how they progress this week. 

We had an interesting experience this week. Elder Bringhurst and I were contacting over by the chapel at night time. It was pretty dark when we contacted a man walking alone in the street. He answered us by telling us about his conversion to the Pare de Sufrir church and about it had saved him from drugs and how grateful he was to Christ for saving him. He started getting more and more excited and animated and started yelling. Then we tried to ask if his church had 12 apostles, he responded by telling us about how Christ drove out demons....then he put his hands around my head and yelled "En el Nombre de Jesus mando a los demonios que salten de este cuerpo!" He was trying to do an exorcism or something. Elder Bringhurst asked him if I had a demon....he said "No, pero para suguridad" we then started walking away dumbfounded when he yelled "Amen" to which I yelled "Amen Hallelujah!!" He then yelled hallelujah and walked away yelling something about Christ. Christians are so weird. 

I have been thinking a lot about consecration this week. What is it and how do we achieve it? I realized that right now is about the best chance we are going to have to consecrate ourselves to the Lord, our time is so short, but if we cannot consecrate ourselves now, there is no tomorrow. Now is the time to change, now is the time to improve because tomorrow will never come. If we can make the change now, dedicate ourselves 100 percent now, become Christlike now...then have we become good and faithful servants and only then will we enter into the rest of the Lord. Because the rest of the Lord is not tomorrow or after we die...it is now. It is the calm assurance that we are headed for the celestial kingdom, that if we were to die right now that we would be ready now. I guess I´ve got a lot of work to do. Well, my time is about up. I love you all and I will talk to you on Sunday.

Love, 

Elder Nelson

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Children in Christ


Alberto, Jesus and Blanca Lydia
Dear Family,                                                                                                              

I attached the pictures of Alberto and Jesus who were baptized last week and of Guadalupe who was baptized this week. I also attached a picture of us and the Hno. German who took us to IHOP last week. First I will answer the questions and then I will talk about the baptisms. I will call home upon Christmas Day.  I don`t have any questions...but I`m sure you will have plenty so I will be ready to answer. Yes we will be going to the Temple this week. Half of the mission goes tomorrow and my half of the mission goes on Wednesday.  We will be going through in the 10 am session and then eating in the comedor del templo. Then afterwards we will have a talent show. I am soo excited to go to the temple. The Martinez Avila Family is going through the temple either this week or next week I am not quite sure yet...but the missionaries in Teotihuacan said they would let me know.

Hermano German took us to IHOP :)
MMmmm   :)
I actually did feel the earthquake. We were checking on a reference that some other missionaries had given us and I was leaning up against the front door of the house when all the sudden I felt like I got really dizzy because the world started moving around me. I thought that someone was shaking the front door at first...but it only lasted about 30 seconds. It kind of made me sea sick but it was a cool experience. I heard that 3 people died in Guerrero where the epicenter was but I think that it only scared people here in DF. I did not get to see the Christmas devotional and I don`t think we will be going to a Retirement home again since Christmas is on a Sunday. But I am pretty sure we will be holding a baptismal service on Christmas Day so I thought that was cool.


Guadalupe
This week Guadalupe was baptized. She has been an incredible investigator with almost no challenges. She always tells us that when we first came to her house she felt a peace and a tranquility that helped her know right there in the first lesson that God wanted her to follow this path, she accepted her baptismal date in the first lesson and never looked back. I got to baptize her and it was just so exciting because of how excited she was to be baptized. Afterwards she was asked to bear her testimony about how she felt....and instead she offered a prayer. No one`s perfect I guess and we all have a ways to go before we arrive in eternity. But new converts are always just like children on Christmas...everything is new and they are just looking to see and touch and feel everything. As it says in the bible they are "children in Christ." But they are so innocent and pure and I just wish that all the members of the church were like that. 

Sunday was fast and testimony meeting and Gilda and Estèr stood up to give their testimonies. Ester told about how she had prayed and prayed to find a job because she just wanted to be able to pay a tithing. The Lord answered her prayer and she found a job this week. Gilda talked about the blessings of being a recent convert and how the Lord has blessed her in her life. It made me so proud to know that they are progressing and becoming faithful members of the church. 
 
Last week mom asked if we do any exercise. Well we have a half an hour in the morning where we should do exercise and since Elder Bringhurst isn`t really a running type I usually just do pushups and sit-ups and we have a little dumbbell to do curls and stuff. Actually yesterday in weekly planning Elder Bringhurst and I started a two week contest to see who could get the best 6 pack....obviously he didn`t know what he was getting himself into. We took before pictures and in 2 weeks we will take the after....we`ll see what happens. Well I am running out of time, I love you all so much and I hope you are having a merry Christmas because I sure will be. 

Love,

Elder Nelson

Monday, December 5, 2011

Bending Sticks


 Dear Family,                                                         

        This week just went by so fast, I get scared when I start feeling how fast the weeks are going by but I guess there is nothing else I can do except put my head down and work. This Sunday we had an interesting experience in the baptism of Alberto and Alejandro, the grandchildren of Blanca Lydia (who was baptized about 3 months ago). We started the week thinking that they weren’t going to be baptized because their mom has been pretty obstinate (even though Blanca Lydia wanted them to be baptized we couldn’t do it without the permission of their mom). Blanca and her daughter fight a lot because they are both very stubborn and quick tempered...But we talked to Blanca Lydia about being patient and about how you can´t snap a stick into place...or it will snap. You have to be patient and little by little bend it and by and by it will get to the shape you want without breaking. She took it to heart and had been talking to her daughter and apologizing for the fights they had had. And lo and behold the mom told her that they could be baptized!! (I think it might have had something to do with the fact that the kids went to their mom telling her they wanted to do it.) Then we get to the church on Sunday for Stake Conference (President Hicken spoke) to start filling up the font and there was no water. The maintenance people had messed up the power in the church so the lights were flickering throughout the whole conference and there wasn’t enough power for the pump to take the water from the cistern to the tank above the church...result is that we couldn’t fill the font. So we called up the next closest chapel and asked them to leave the font filled so that after the conference we could go (in the stake center right by the temple) use it after them. So after the conference we went to the Centro Para Visitantes to entertain the kids while we went and set up the baptism in the church. After waiting for an hour for the bishop and the primary to show up we finally got started and got the baptism done. I loved it when Blanca Lydia stood up to bear her testimony to her grandchildren and talked about how much she had prayed for this day to come.

         Also another cool thing happened with Guadalupe. She is an investigator that was just so prepared to hear the gospel, she is scheduled to be baptized this Sunday. We found her last Saturday at about 6 pm. We talked to her in the street and she led us to her home where we taught her the first time. The next day when we showed up to pick her up for church she was wearing a skirt and a nice blouse (most investigators go the first time in jeans or casual clothes). Then in Relief Society they talked about fasting on the first Sunday of the month...but Guadalupe misunderstood and when we went to visit her on the 1st day of the month she had decided to fast. The first time we left the Book of Mormon with her (in the first visit) she was going to read 3 Nefi 11...but somehow she opened up to the wrong chapter and read the sermon on the mount where it talks about being kind to our projimo. She has a sister that she had been fighting with...but reading the Book of Mormon she felt a peace and love that touched her heart and she went right then to fix things with her sister...then she read 3 Nefi 11. It´s awesome to see the Spirit guide the process of conversion, I love to know that we are not alone in the work but that we are actually a threesome of me and my companion and Divinity. 

         Also this week Elder De Hoyos of the 1st Quorom of the 70 came to tour the misión. He talked about the Atonement and the Book of Mormon. I made  a promise to read the Book of Mormon every single day for the rest of my life. I’ve been carrying a 3x5 in my triple with the days and material that I have studied. I remember that Grandpa always used to carry a 3x5 in his pocket to write important things on, I now know why. It is very useful to carry a 3x5 with a hymn to memorize so that whenever distracting thoughts come into my mind I can hum my favorite hymn. 

         Also I promised Dad that I would write about my impression on the Mexican people and culture. Well, it´s very hard to explain. I love them so much. Today a brother took us to an IHOP  (it was soo good). As far as the church goes…it is still very immature. They just don’t understand how the different organizations should and could work if all would just lend a hand…unfortunately people work so much that the Ward relies on the 5 or 6 people that actually understand the work. It is very much less organized, and a very much more selfish environment…yet at the same time unselfish. Some are willing to sacrifice anything to help another...others are willing to do anything to get ahead...but I need more time to explain more fully. Mom I will get the package next week when we go to the temple. I love you all so much and I pray that you are doing well.

Love,

Elder Nelson

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Story for My Kids


Dear Family,                                                                                      

I have a lot of things to put in this letter so I hope I can make it all fit. First of all Thanksgiving passed by without much fanfare again. People don’t celebrate it at all here so Elder Bringhurst and I were going to buy some chicken and potatoes on Thursday and have our own Thanksgiving. The picture of the missionaries and I is in front of the mission home. 

In front of the Mission Home
As for going to the temple we will be going the 14th of December and we will be going through in Spanish. We went last year in Spanish too...I hope I will be able to understand more this year. I am soo excited to go to the temple. I love the temple so much and I love just walking in and feeling the Spirit without a bunch of cars whizzing by and without having a million appointments and running around and working hard and doing divisions.....but when we go it is just for me. Not to say I don’t love those other things, but it will be nice to go. And as it says in my patriarchal blessing what I learn there will help me help others understand their purpose in life. 

This week a crazy thing happened. On Wednesday we had an appointment with a reference form the Center for Visitors named Navarette. We went and knocked on the door and her husband answered. He was obviously not well in the mind, I think he had sniffed one too many solvents. He told us no...but his wife told us to come in so we went in to their little apartment while he wouldn’t even shake our hand. The whole time we were teaching he was standing over her shoulder and pacing back and forth and answering all the questions for her. So we left and set up an appointment to come back to teach her daughter who would be able to accompany us to the chapel Sunday. We went back and taught her daughter..but outside in the courtyard of the buildings where they live and afterwards we went to go give a book of Mormon to Navarette so that she could read even though she couldn’t go with us the church that week. He wouldn't open the door and kept saying that no one was home...but we kept insisting so finally the door burst open and he asked what we wanted. We told him we wanted to give a book to his wife and said...fine give it to me then. He had just recently sniffed...it smelled like it. With his (The husband’s) hand outstretched Elder Bringhurst told him "It won’t do you any good. It is for your wife and we will only give it to your wife." That kind of agitated him...haha. He took a menacing step towards us and Elder Bringhurst started down the stairs...unfortunately I was too far back in the balcony to make a break for it and as he lunged at me I ran past him and down the stairs...then he started down the stairs after us. Needless to say we went down those stairs faster than I have ever gone down stairs in my life. Once we got down the stairs he stopped chasing us. Kind of a cool experience to tell the kids someday right? We didn’t go back for a return appointment.

Hector and Ami
Also this week Hector was baptized. He is the spouse of Ami who was baptized about three months ago. She was sooo excited. My tie makes my shirt look dirty...but it´s really not I promise. 

On Saturday we found an older lady named Guadalupe. She accepted to go to the church on the next day and explained that she had gone to many churches before looking for the truth and looking for harmony in her home. We went and picked her up and she came with us on Sunday. In Gospel Principles at the end of the lesson on faith Gilda (Who got baptized about 3 weeks ago) asked to share her testimony. She told Guadalupe (without knowing her at all)  about her conversion experience an about how before being baptized her son wouldn’t even talk to her. Now they are very close and fixing a lot of things that needed fixing. She said that though faith Guadalupe would know and feel the truthfulness of the message.  She bore testimony about how God had guided Guadalupe to this church on this day to feel peace and tranquility so that she would know that this was the true church!! How cool is the way that the Spirit works in each of us to the benefit of those who need it most. I know the Spirit guides us. 

Why do I have to put a Mexican number on Skype? Why can´t I just use the same phone number?
Well, I have run out of time. I love you all so much and thank you so much for the talks.

Love, 

Elder Nelson





Monday, November 21, 2011

Horoscope


Dear Family,                                                                                                                         

This week went by so fast...everything just goes by so fast. It was just barely last Monday...but here we are once again. 

Jase is doing really well. He is training again and just barely got made a district leader. He seems happy but I only get to see him about once every 3 or 4 weeks. His zone leaders are really good so he is in good hands. Transfers went well. It is always really stressful and a lot of work but I love it. We received 13 new Americans fresh form the good ole USA...they always have this awesome deer in he headlights look in their eyes and everyone carries around their dictionary. I love changes, I love what it means. Changes not just of place and companion but changes of life. A time to start over and renew our dedication to give 200 percent for God. 100 percent is not enough...we must always expect more of ourselves than we are...that is the only way to progress and flourish.

I will take a picture in front of the mission home. But the thing about the offices is that it is in a 10 story sky scraper where the general offices of the church in Mexico are so there isn´t really a sign. Plus I have only been to the offices like 3 times because I don`t work in the offices. We do missionary work in the field. The mission home doesn´t have a sign either but tomorrow I will be there so I will take a picture. Neither one of them are in the mission, they are in the West mission. They are about 2 hours from my area in metro and bus but we go there about 2 or 3 times a transfer for different planning or training things. 

This week I have been really good about my journal. I usually write once every other day or every three days, but I wrote every single day this week. We had a really cool experience with Gloria. She was baptized last week and was confirmed yesterday. On the Friday before her baptism she was watching tv when a program about horoscopes came on. She was going to turn it off but something told her not to. She watched her horoscope which said...(I am not making this up it is exactly what she told us) "You have had two people visiting you in your home. These two people are foreigners. Their message is true. Do what they ask of you and it will bless your life richly. What you are going to do this weekend is what God wants of you, so don´t be scared."!!!!!!!!!!!! How cool right?! God truly has a mysterious way of communicating with His children. It built my testimony even more that there are millions of people just sitting around waiting for us, we just have to go find them.

I love to go check up on the mutual night activities and see Gilda and Estér and Ami and Gloria and Juana and Blanca Lydia...and all the rest of our converts progressing and being so happy in the gospel. This week Ami´s husband Hector is going to be baptized. He was a little reluctant because he had been going to a Christian church since he was born, so we really didn´t visit him that much. Ami left his book of Mormon on his pillowcase and every night asked him to read it. He did and converted himself solo...another convert for the Book of Mormon! It is incredible to see the different ways that God works in people´s lives. 

Happy thanksgiving, on Thursday we will have a Zone Leaders Council...not much time to celebrate in the work of the Lord. Elder Bringhurst and I will buy a roticery (I know that isn´t spelled right but I couldn´t remember how to spell it) chicken and call it good. 

I am going to try to attach the newsletter...Cameron or Kolby can translate it. I also would like to ask a favor. If everyone could attach their favorite general conference (From whichever general conference) address I would love to read them. The words of the prophets are so critical right now, and it is so important to read them and understand the spirit and letter of what they are trying to teach us.  

I love you all so much. Melissa thank you so much for your letter. I´m glad you are happy and that everything is going well. Keep doing what you are supposed to be doing. I love you all and pray for you so much.

Love Elder Nelson

Monday, November 14, 2011

Mexican Etiquette

Dear Family,

Ok, I will answer the questions first so that I don´t forget. On the day of the dead we worked just like normal until the end of the day. In DF it was a  lot different that it was in Teotihuacan. It was basically just like Halloween...all the kids dressed up and went around asking for candy and stuff. The Catholic part of Day of the Dead was still pretty strong, everyone put up their altar to their loved ones that had already passed on with their food offerings and candles. It is kind of hard to explain so it will probably be better when I get home. There is actually a bull fighting ring in Pachuca. I never went...but a lot of people watch the fights from Spain and things. 
The elder with me in last week´s picture was Elder Pukahi, he is the visas secretary. We met them at the tacos on Monday on their way to Teotihuacan. I am still with Elder Bringhurst...we are going to compete 5 months together in a week or so. I love him so much and I really am glad that we have been together because I have learned so much with him. As for changes (which are Tuesday) President told us in our interview with him this week that Elder Bringhurst will probably be leaving Campestre to train in about January or February. He will have 3 months left in February so that will probably be about when we see a new companion. I will be here for a long time because if Elder Bringhurst leaves in January or February then I will train the new assistant and leave in about March or April. But I just told President that I´m good wherever he wants me. Wherever he wants me is wherever God wants me so I´m pretty much good wherever.
As for weird things I probably won´t notice them until I´m home because everything is so normal to me now. But one funny thing is that people always get on the metro and buses selling peanuts and pens and pictures of the Virgin Mary or whatever thing they could get their hands on. Sometimes they play instruments or tell jokes....but all with the (fin) of making money. Also...when someone walks by where people are eating you usually say "provecho"  to which all the people eating respond "gracias". If you are walking through a group of people and you don´t say "con permiso" everyone looks at you like you killed someone. And you never ever throw money. If you buy something and just kind of toss the money on the counter....it basically is the same as flipping them off. You have to lay it nicely down on the counter or put it directly into their hand. I can´t really think of anything else right now. Also it is completely acceptable to talk bad about American and Argentinians...but if you happen to defend Americans or Argentinians (everyone hates them because they are really proud and think they are all that.....but they are not) you are automatically racist and every one asks you why there are so many racists in America. Just some funny things from Mexico. I can´t really think of anything else.
Today we got up at 4:45 to go pick up the new Mexican elders form the CCM and take them to the house of President and train them. I think we´ll have some good elders from this group. I wonder if that´s how it was when we were receiving our first lessons in the spirit world before coming here. "I think we´ll have some good ones from this group..." Tomorrow will be the changes.
My favorite area is Teotihucan. I would go back if President would let me. I don´t know how possible that is...but we can always hope. The Martinez Avila family is taking the temple prep classes, but don´t have a date yet. They say that it will probably be before December !!!!
Miguel's Mom
I sent the pictures from the baptism of Miguel's mom. She was baptized on Sunday and I got to baptize her. When I was baptizing her my foot slipped and my sandal fell off...but I still got her up fine and the ordinance didn´t have to be repeated. It´s funny how much we don´t appreciate the important things sometimes. This week the mission baptized 56, which is a long ways from where I would like it to be. But President just said, well that´s 56 souls saved in the Kingdom of God. True, and I repented for being disappointed. 
I love you all. I am glad Mom´s surgery went well and I hope that she really does get better this time. Ask the helper lady what part of Pachuca she is from...like what colony. I love you all so much and I hope you are all doing as well as I imagine.

´Till next week,
Elder Nelson 

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Planted Seeds


Dear Family,                                                                                                  
 

Gilda with Elder Bringhurst, Elder Nelson and President Hicken
Ester
This week was crazy busy. We did divisions with 4 different zones. I left my area Tuesday night and didn’t come back until Saturday morning. I attached the pictures from the last several baptisms that we have had. The one with President in it is Gilda. She is so incredible. President came because taught her one time when he was accompanying us to lessons. We were kind of freaking out because President had never come to a baptismal service of ours before. We did a musical number "nearer my God to Thee" where Elder Bringhurst played the piano and I sang with two other men from our ward. After the baptism the ward mission leader asked Gilda to stand up and express how she felt. She stood up and said "Yo no sentí nada...." I heard President choke a little bit and I was really confused, but then she clarified, "Yo no sentí nada porque ya lo había sentido antes. Tengo un sentimiento en mi pecho que no puedo describir. Siento que va a explotar de alegría y felicidad. He sentido mi fe crecer desde cuando conocí estos dos misioneros y siento que el Señor me ha estado preparando para este momento por algunos años..." (I did not feel anything because I had felt before. I have a feeling in my chest that I can not describe. I feel I will explode with joy and happiness. I felt my faith grow from when I met these two missionaries and I feel the Lord has been preparing for this moment for a few years) Sorry...but it just isn’t the same in English. She said that other missionaries had passed her by on the street without talking to her and she had been looking for God. In one of the lessons we read Alma 32 and she stopped us mid-sentence and said "this is exactly what I feel right now" (we were reading about how the seed will grow and will begin to be delicious to you). So incredibly prepared to hear the gospel. The other baptism is Estér. 

Outside Tulancingo
Puebla outside Teotihuacan
Also when were driving to Tulancingo with President this week to do divisions he took a wrong turn and we ended up having to drive through all the little pueblos of Teotihuacán to get back to the highway. We happened to drive right by the house of the Martinez_Avila (This is the family that he baptized when he first arrived in Mexico)...but we didn’t have enough time to stop. Also I have a testimony that not a single effort is wasted in the mission. A family that I taught in Teotihuacán when I was there finally got baptized this week by other missionaries. I just wasn’t there at the right time. 

At Elder Nelson's favorite taco stand
Tell Kolby I laughed really hard at that story...who tries to catch knives with their hands?

The picture of me with the other missionary is in the tacos where we went for Elder Bringhursts birthday. We went again today. Weird people live here. While we were eating tacos this unshaven guy in a soccer jersey just comes over and starts singing acapella...people here will do anything for a peso.

Mom, Joe shared this scripture with me about a year ago and it has helped me a ton. I think it can help you too. D&C 123:17. Also ask her (from Peggy: He is asking about a lady I recently met) which university she lived by because there was a university in my area. But it was over in Loreto/el arbolito and I think she lives over by Chacón or Pachuquilla. But that is way cool that she is from Pachuca. Well sorry time is short today, but thanks for all you prayers and support. I pray for you every day. 

Love,

Elder Nelson

P.S. HHHAAPPYY  BBBIIIRRTTHHDDDAAYY!! Cameron I love ya man. You are now a man. Make sure you apply well to BYU so we can be there together for a semester. I love ya and I will try to write a better letter next week or maybe in snail mail.

Monday, October 31, 2011

Better late than never...


Zone Leaders, APs and Presidente Hicken
Dear Family,                                                                                                               

Sorry about last week. We had some new missionaries come in on Monday who had been waiting for their visas and we had a missionary get sent home so we had to train the new missionary, train the new trainers and help President with the special changes. I have never missed a week before...but I guess one out of 104 isn’t that bad.

Well, last week President was gone all week at a conference so we got all the emergency and permission to do things calls. Tuesday...about a half an hour after president had gotten on the plane to leave we got a phone call from some zone leaders in one of the more dangerous parts of the mission. They told us that two missionaries had gotten arrested and were being held in the delegation. What a way to start off a week. We made some calls and got a hold of the number of Elder Tenorio, one of the members of the 70 in charge of Mexico and the number of the church legal department in Mexico. We called up the legal department and they sent a lawyer over to the delegation to bail them out. I guess they had been putting up flyers for an English class where they shouldn’t have...luckily the church got them out without too much trouble...but it kind of scared us a little bit.


It is starting to get a little colder....by colder I mean I have to use blankets at night and sometimes I wear a sweater to study in. But you know you’ve been in Mexico when 70 is cold. I have been using the socks Grandma Anderson sent last Christmas to sleep in and I still have my slippers...so I think I’m pretty good. I got your package!!! Thanks so much. I love the Starbursts (they are gone now because Elder Bringhurst likes them too) and I have been enjoying hot oatmeal and hot chocolate in the mornings. Thank you for the EFY disc I love it...you get kind of sick of the same songs over and over again so it is nice to hear something new. Thank you for the pictures, I put them up on my desk. Kolby is wearing my old shirt and Melissa looks way different. I also noticed that I look way different from my homecoming picture...that was almost 2 years ago and things change a lot in 2 years. 

This computer doesn’t have a picture port so I couldn’t send pictures of the baptism of Esthèr. She was so excited to be clean from her sins and it was really cool to see how the ward rallied around her to support her. We have been focusing a lot of working with members (bringing members to lessons and using them to answer questions and doubts and pick them up for church) and we have seen a huge difference in the investigators. Esthèr has come every single week to mutual, (the RS always gets together to learn some sort of recipe or sewing thing) and she just really is loving everything. Her home situation is hard because her whole family is Presbyterian and they are not supportive at all of her decision to be baptized. But she overcame that and an addiction to coffee (we gave her a box of herbal tea (which is not against the word of wisdom here) at her baptism). Our bishop got emergency released last week. He had been out of work for about a year and was unable to find anything because he was too busy being bishop...so right now we don’t have a bishop for a couple weeks. 

I’ve been thinking a lot about a couple things. First of all the obra misional is really different in Mexico. Our ward doesn’t have a ward council because no one gets there on time, our ward mission leader doesn’t ever have meetings with us because he works (and because he knows we can baptize without him and thus feels less of a responsibility) and the whole culture here is different. When baptisms flow like water a lot of missionaries start losing sight of what it really is, a saving ordinance that will change the eternities of these people. They start looking at them as personal achievements and start worrying more about numbers of baptisms than people. Then there is the other extreme where they just say that baptisms don’t matter at all. They say we are here to help people and baptism is a plus...the result being that they go weeks without baptizing. The doctrine of Christ is as stated in D&C 33:11 He wants every single person to be baptized...but it is also as stated in D&C 4....everything has to do with our motives. Are we motivated to baptize by love of God and of all mankind? Are we no longer motivated to help others come unto Christ (and the only way they can do that is by have faith, repenting and be baptized)? It has to be a fire in your belly, a hunger, but motivated purely. I have been reading Acts...they obviously had the motivation to help others come unto Christ and baptized whole pueblitos...but only because the Spirit was with them. The Spirit cannot testify of impurely motivated missionaries...if baptized by impurely motivated missionaries the people are simply convinced...not converted. We are here to baptize every last person who lives within the boundaries of MME, but we are only to baptized converted, not convinced, people. I wish I could help the missionaries understand that. I wish I could be better at that. I know that the natural man attacks us everyday and it is a constant battle to keep our motives pure. But we are commanded to come unto Christ and be perfected in Him...our very salvation depends on the results of that battle. If we are not purely motivated...it’s not worth doing it. I love my Savior and I am so grateful that He can accept me as I am, as imperfect as I am. But He accepts me not as I am....but as I can be. He accepts not my sins...but knows that I, Elder Nelson, can be clean and pure with His help and He never gives up on me. I love the atonement because it is exactly that.

Grandma, thank you for your note in the package. Don`t worry about not writing me...we`ll have plenty of time to talk when I get back. I pray for you everyday ad I hope you are finding joy in the journey and happiness in the little things. 

I love you all so much, I pray for you every day.

Love,

Elder Nelson


Monday, October 17, 2011

Elder Nelson, the "Grandpa"





President Hicken and Elders Bringhurst and Nelson

Dear Family,                                                                                                                          

What a strange week we’ve had. But first of all before I forget I need to ask mom how much the little PMG cost and how much it would cost to send it here because several of the missionaries have asked me how I got it and how they can get one too. Also I would love it if you could send me in an email next week a bunch of great running quotes, I love how motivating they are to me and would like to read them again. If you go onto google and type in running quotes it should give you a bunch of them. 

On Wednesday President called us at about 7:30 in the morning. I had just put my eggs in the frying pan to scramble them up when I heard President say to Elder Bringhurst "I need you to go to the airport NOW!" That was that...I left my eggs uncooked in the frying pan and we took a taxi to the airport. President Hicken’s daughter in law’s parents are the mission presidents in the Puebla mission (pretty close by). He had called President Hicken in a sort of a panic because he had sent a missionary home and dropped him off in the airport....but the missionary never arrived in Peru. We only had his name...so that made things difficult but after an hour of running around the airport asking questions and calling the secretaries in Puebla we finally figured out that he had missed his flight because it had been canceled but had gotten on the next flight at 2:30 in the morning and was going to arrive in Peru about 8 in the evening. Everyone was relieved and we got home about 10 to finish cooking my egg and go out to work.

Then the next day we are out working and contacting. We were contacting next to a secundaria (middle school) which I don´t really like to do because all the little kids stop and stare and the "guedo." But right in the middle of a contact a little twerp about Kolby´s size ran up behind us,  (Note from Mom:  he obviously hasn't seen Kolby lately :) slapped Elder Bringhurst in the back of the head and took of running! We were too stunned to take off in pursuit...then we laughed our heads off and kept working. Just a day in the life...
My Family "Tree":  My "son" and "grandson", Elder Ramos is a trainer now!

As for if I need anything...some more pilot g2´s would be nice. I love the ones you sent me but I am not sure if they will last the rest of my mission. Usually you think of everything I need so nothing really comes to mind right now. Crazy how fast the year went by...it is almost Christmas again, but it was just barely Christmas last year. Elder Bringhurst hits the 18 month mark next week and the weeks are just flying by so fast.

Today for P-day we went to a plaza to buy shoes and shirts for a missionary whose family didn´t have enough money to send him new ones. The mission has a budget for that type of thing and we go to make sure the money is used for what it should be used for...but I love the look in their eyes and face when they get the new stuff. It is priceless.

I loved what Seth wrote. It is so true...you cannot truly understand the atonement until you use it, and see it used in the lives of others...you cannot really truly come to know of God’s love for His children until you become and instrument to share it...you cannot describe a mission until you live it. It is something that shapes every good thing that will happen in my life forever after. I’m sure that Dad would say the same and that Joe would too....our mission is reflected in everything we do afterwards. 

Miguel and his family
Hector
Blanca Lydia
This week we did divisions with the Zone Leaders in Tecamac. I love going back to Tecamac..it just smells like elegidos. We were working up on a hill that had a perfect view of the Mexican sierra that extends out to Pachuca. The sun was setting and threw shadows across the whole valley. The moon was out early and there was a slight breeze and I thought "how great is He?" God is a master of beauty and in a view like that I realized...just as Moses did that man was nothing. We are so small, even in just the expanse of Mexico city. Imagining my smallness on a global level brought it even more into perspective. Yet seeing all these people pass by my side...each one of them has a life...a wife...troubles in the work  in the family etc...Sometimes we get so caught up in our own selves that we don’t stop to think about what an incredible masterpiece God is weaving in the world. He knows each of the threads and wants each of them to be with Him again. We get to be the needles! We get to experience His love change lives, we get to see a part of His greatness. I love it so much...sometimes I wish it would never end. 


The pictures I sent were from last week..the huge family is Miguel..Just us is Hector and the woman is Blanca Lydia. I am also sending a separate email with a picture of me and Elder Bringhurst and President that we took after the Zone Council.

I love you all so much I pray for you all every day. I urge you all to help the Master in His masterpiece...help Him put the threads in the right place to be woven...help find people and help them get ready to accept the restored gospel. Be member missionaries and feel of the love and the excitement of the obra misional. I love it so much...I hope you are all doing well and are happy in doing what’s right for the right reasons.

Love, 
   Elder Nelson

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Angelitos


Dear Family,                                                                                                              

Tomorrow I will complete 1 year in Mexico. Wow...that went by fast. My visa actually expired back in April. I think we will go to the immigration office next week to renew our visas. It is not an issue if I am illegal right now, but if I were to try to leave the country they probably wouldn’t let me...but I’m not leaving the country any time soon so I’m fine. I’m definitely not native...I have a pretty good gringo accent to go along with my blue eyes and white complexion...unfortunately I don’t think I will ever be native. 

Happy Birthday Dad!!! I remember that last year I forgot your birthday because I had just barely gotten to Mexico and was a little overwhelmed with all that was going on, but now I remembered. The big 5-0. Wow. I probably shouldn’t make any old people jokes so I will just say ¡Felicidades!

This letter might be a little shorter because we have to be at an interview with President at 4:30. Today was Elder Bringhurt’s birthday so we went and did his favorite thing, we ate tacos. But these tacos are super good, they are chopped up costilla with melted queso oaxaca on a big flour tortilla with beans and potatoes and a really good guacamole. 25 pesos and I am stuffed. It´s great when you and get really full for 2 bucks. He turns 21 today. That’s old (sorry dad). When I turn 21 I will only have 2 months left in the mission and time is just flying by. 

This week we had 3 baptisms. I would have sent pictures but this computer is slightly broken and doesn’t want to attach a file. The first was Hector, the son of Ami who was baptized about 4 weeks ago. He is 13, and when we first started teaching him he was really closed and didn’t like to talk very much. We brought him to the mutual night and got him to know the other jovenes and most importantly in the first lesson we left a Book of Mormon with him and told him to read and pray. When we can back the next time we asked how his prayer had gone and he just told us with a smile on his face "I felt something right here (with his hand on his chest) and I felt really good." He had been looking for a change in his life and he found it in the Book of Mormon.

The next was Miguel. He is about 14 and is the cousin of one of the youth in our ward that always helps us out with divisions and things like that. Actually we invited Miguel´s aunt to go with us to the first appointment with Hector because her son is about Hector´s age. She just happened to bring Miguel along to see what the missionaries taught about. Cha ching. He read the Book of Mormon and prayed to know if it was true...and it obviously is. He felt it too and decided to be baptized.

The last was Blanca Lydia. She is about 65 and we found her by knocking her door. She let us in and we didn’t really think she was going to progress because she was a little bit out of it and was taking bible study classes from the Christians and the Jehovah´s Witness. But we left a Book of Mormon and asked her to read it and to pray. When we came back she told us she had read and prayed and received an answer...then she asked what she needed to bring to her baptism!! She always calls us her angelitos which makes me feel good. 3 more converts for the Book of Mormon. It never fails us because it is true. It´s pages were written for us, and for these people. It does not matter what your problem is or how long you have had it or how bad you think it is. It´s answer is in the Book of Mormon. Of course the bible is true and we use it too....but no one else has the Book of Mormon.

I love you all so much. I am soo glad that every one is doing well. To those who have written real letter recently...sorry I haven’t written back but we have been super busy. But that’s how it should be. I love you all and pray for you every day.

Love, 

Elder Nelson  

Monday, October 3, 2011

Cambios


We received an SD card in the mail with over 700 pictures and videos from Elder Nelson.  We asked several questions about some of the pictures and he answers a few of them.

Dear Family,                                                                                                                          

I am so glad that you got my SD card. The reason why it took so long to get there is because one of our secretaries forgot to take the mail upstairs for a week...but we got that fixed. As for the man singing on the bus that happens all the time. People come on board singing or telling jokes or selling little food items in hopes of winning a couple pesos. That’s what they live off of so it is pretty sad...but entertaining.


That was the only dead possum I have ever seen in Mexico...but I just thought it was funny. I did replace the bike. I can take funds directly out of my savings account and I didn’t have enough in my checking...so I just took the money out of the savings. The mission pays for new scriptures because they are essential for the work.
All creatures need to learn the Plan of Salvation sooner or later...

In Pachuca it was hailing about the size of marbles and raining super super hard. I was staying with some other missionaries because it was right after Elder Hunt went home. WWE is super big here. It´s called la lucha libre. If you watch Nacho Libre...it is way more true than you would think. We will all get copies of the conference Liahona.

Also even though I would love to have you guys come down and pick me and see the areas where I served the rule in the mission is that parents cannot come pick up missionaries. Maybe we can plan a trip for a couple months after I get back.

Ok I will describe my day today. We had a "dead" missionary (one that was finishing his mission) with us last night. We woke up at about 4:30 to go to the airport to drop him off and pick up an Elder that was arriving from Colombia (The secretaries were in the MTC picking up the other 11 Mexicans that arrived in our mission today). We left the airport at about 7 and there was traffic all the way from the airport to President´s house so we got there about 9:30. Sister Hicken fixes a big nice American breakfast of waffles and eggs and bacon. Then afterwards the secretaries give a presentation on their specialty, finances or materials or administrative things. Afterwards Elder Bringhurst and I give a capacitaion about trusting in the process of the missionary work and obedience and diligence using D&C 33 and 123. I love D&C123 so much it is so powerful. Also I love the part in 33 where it says "Arrepentíos y bauticese, cada uno de vosotros por la remisón de sus pecados..." God wants every single person in the world (but more importantly Misión Mexico Este) to repent and be baptized..that is a lot of work we have to do. We finish by telling them why our mission is the best mission in the whole world and then we practice contacting people in the street. Then President talks. Then we take them to the temple square at about 2:30pm where missionaries from surrounding areas are waiting to take the Mexicans with them until the cambios meeting the next day. The Americans usually arrive about 4 pm in the airport and sometimes we go to help pick them up sometimes not. Tonight we will be sleeping with the secretaries (because they live close to where president lives) and we will be at President´s house tomorrow at 7 am sharp (President hates it when we are late) to do the whole training thing over again with the Americans (in English...it´s really hard). We take them to the temple square at about 12 and the cambios meeting starts at 1. We are in charge of directing and making sure President doesn´t make any mistakes because if he does it is our fault. Then we train the new district leaders after the cambios meeting and finally about 4 pm Tuesday we get to go to work in our area again. That´s about it...it is way fun and way exhausting but such is the work of God. I always get so excited when the new elders come because they are so excited to be here. They just want to get out and help people right away...some with fear others with uncertainty..but all willing overcome everything in the name of serving their God. They are so willing to learn. Everytime they come I realize how much I wish I could be the new elder again and how quickly 6 weeks passes. It is going by way too fast. I will complete 1 year in Mexico in a week! How crazy is that?! It seems like 2 months ago I was with Elder Llanos on a crazy rickety old bus heading out in the middle of nowhere speaking a language I didn’t understand...but time goes fast when you are busy. 

I was really happy to hear about Elder Ostler, I love those guys so much. I never really realized just how amazing they are until I got into the mission. Well, we still have to go to the corner store and get out working by 6 so I guess it´s that time again. I love the mission so much and wouldn’t rather be anywhere else doing anything else with anyone other that Elder Bringhurst. The Lord truly knows how to bless us, and I know that He has blessed me in so many things.

One day I put my shoe on...about 5 minutes later I felt something struggling inside of my shoe....I promptly took my shoe off and poured out that cockroach which I then killed. It gave me the chills....eewww. The other pictures are of us with secretaries and Elder Bringhurst doing things for the new missionaries in President´s house today. 
The cockroach in my shoe


President Hicken addresses the new missionaries
Preparing for the new missionaries and transfers

The mission secretaries and Assistants


I love you so much and hope we do everything we need to, be as obedient and diligent as is necessary, to be together as a family forever. I love you all so much.

Sincerely,

Elder Nelson

ps I only have 1 pair of contacts left...sorry I keep forgetting to tell you. Also I love starbursts and skittles if you happen to send contacts. Thanks Mom love ya a bunch.Also if there is a new EFY cd out (Kolby) I would love to listen to it.