Monday, February 28, 2011

The Opportunity of Prayer

Dear Family,

It may be cold there...but it´s not cold here anymore. March and April are the hottest months in Teotihuacan and it is starting to heat up. I go to sleep at night without any blankets because it is hot, but then at 2 or 3 in the morning it is freezing , and I wake up in the morning with 3 blankets.

As for the Skype, I still don´t know but we still have 2 months until Mothers day so there is a little bit of time to figure it out. I am way excited for that phone call, but 2 months is a long time still.

No, I don´t need money to buy anything. All my clothing still fits and still works just fine. Even if my shirts aren´t quite as white as they were before and my pants aren´t quite the same color. The people here feed us really well, and we know several members who have restaurants sell food, so we don´t eat in the street very much. Tell Kolby that I have gained weight and am getting fat. Not really fat, but I had 3 hermanas tell me that I looked more "healthy" this week.

For the new mission....I had only heard that they were going to create a new mission from someone who I don´t think was supposed to tell me. We don´t have any information at all. I know that whatever happens happens because God wants it to happen, but I don´t want to be in the other mission. I like President Hicken.

Sorry...I still haven´t sent my SD card. I was going to send fotos today, but the SD card slot on this computer doesn´t work. When I get the other SD card I will send this one, but I want to be able to take pictures. Don´t worry about Elder Ramos giving me a bad time, that is one of his favorite things to do. I will send pictures next week if I can find a computer that works.

As for being district leader and figuring things out. Not really. I am just trying to lead by example and help the other missionaries to be obedient with exactness. Before my mission I didn´t feel comfortable doing things that I didn´t know how to do, but that is just part of my daily life now. Poco a poco, linea por linea, principio por principio. This week was a little bad for the district, we only baptized 1. Elder Ramos and I baptized a man named Francisco. Elder Keele and Elder Rodriguez are struggling a little bit and I don´t really know how to help them. They are obedient, they work hard...but the baptisms just aren´t coming for them. I am going to fast and pray for them...and look for inspiration in the scriptures. This week we have a family of 5 lined up for baptism, the family Islas Mosquero. They are a miracle. I don´t like to contact teenagers,,,13 14 15 etc. Many times their parents get mad, it kind of looks bad when two 20 year olds are talking to a 15 year old girl and lots of times the addresses they give are bad. But one day we were walking and I saw a 13 year old kid walking home frrm school. Something whispered in my ear "contact him" but I didn´t. I just remembered that I already told you this story. Sorry.

Thank you for telling me the story about Cameron and Melissa. I still miss you guys a lot, and it makes me happy to known that everything is going well at home. I haven´t heard from Cameron for a are things going? Are you reading your scriptures everyday? Are you saying your prayers? Are you studying ch 6 of Preach my Gospel? I love you Cameron. I sometimes think about how I was before my mission, about the kind of brother I was. I wasn´t always the kindest most patient or loving brother to you, but I´m sorry. Things will change when I come home. Love your time in high school, it is really awesome. Also, could you check my guitar and ukulele that they are tuned and that everything is still ok?

Melissa, I hope that you are enjoying soccer and middle school. I know that you are smart and don´t have any problems with school. But just in case...don´t worry, be happy. In a few years you will wish that you were back in middle school again. I love you to the stars and back. Espero que esté leyendo sus escrituras cada dia. Practique el piano por favor.

Kolby, good luck trying out for the Bombers. Don´t doubt that God will put you where He wants you. But always shoot for the moon so that you can at least end up among the stars. You want to play varsity, it´s just better there. Trust me. Also, if you want to improve your Spanish read the scriptures in Spanish. You can use my Spanish triple... read Spanish until you don´t understand and then look at the English. Use a dictionary for the words you don´t know, and write them down so you can study them. It will be really hard at first, but it´s worth it. I love you. You are a good kid, so never doubt in yourself.

This week Elder Guzman my Zone Leader goes home. It is kind of sad because he was like my second dad after Elder Llanos. It is really weird when missionaries go´s like they have cambios, but you´re never going to see them again. It always makes me think about when I go home. I still have 17 months in the mission, but I want that day to be the best day of my life. To know that yo cumplí con el Señor, en todas las cosas. I want to be exhausted, because in the span of the eternities, these two years are my only chance to serve. But that also means that cambios are coming and on Sunday we will recieve cambios. I don´t know if I will stay or go, but Presidente usually only leaves trainers with their sons for 1 or 2 cycles, so it is possible that I might be leaving Teotihuacan.

This week I learned a lot about prayer. I studied Joseph Smith a lot and Enos. Do we realize who we are talking to when we are praying? We are talking to the all powerful God who created us and everything we will ever know, we talk with someone more important that the President of the US everyday. What is our attitude like when we are praying, are we half asleep? What would you do if someone was talking to you and just fell asleep in the middle of your conversation? I know that God is our Father. I know that we are given an incredible opportunity to talk with Him everyday. I know that if we ask for specific things, God will give us specific answers. I know that He loves me, of all the people in the world, and in all the others, He knows me and gives me the chance to talk with Him everyday. How incredible is that blessing?

Well Mom, don´t worry about writing long letters, I love long letters. I love hearing about the things that are going on and about the miracles that you see everyday. I had a miracle this week with Fransisco, but I don´t have enough time...until next week I suppose. Mom I love you so much. You don´t know how much I love your letters.

Dad I love you too. We will have lots of things to talk about when I get home. Thank you for showing me the way to be happy in this life.

Darci...I didn´t forget about you. I love you and Joe. I know that the Lord has special things planned for you two in this life. Thank you for being who you are and being such a good example to me.

Love you all....until next week

Elder Nelson

Monday, February 21, 2011

Eternity is Now

Dear Family,

Well this week was a little bit more tranquilo than the last one. No lynchings, no hidden cripts or Dan Brown style adventures, but it was a good week.

I’m going to start with the questions because Grandma Andy told me that Mom said that I don´t answer questions very well, so this week I will try to repent. Is there traffic? Well, in San Juan there is traffic about the same as the traffic when people are going home from Hanford, usually only in the nights. But in DF.....there are 30 million people living in and around this place and there is traffic that we would never dream of in the U.S. Also people don´t really know how to drive here and the traffic is really scary sometimes...tons of people cutting people off and screaming things and braking really fast.

The food has been the same, I´ve only had to eat chicken feet two times. The other day I tried rabbit for the first time. It was pretty good and tastes a lot like chicken, and no that wasn´t a pun. I don´t know what I am going to do when I come home and we don´t eat tortillas with every single meal. I love tortillas, but they make you fat really fast. I also can´t really eat anything that´s not spicy anymore, it just doesn´t taste good anymore.

Yes we told Presidente about the whole lynching thing. Apparently lynching is normal in small towns in Mexico. Don´t worry about me, I am safe. Nothing is going to happen that God does not want to happen.

As for General Conference, who knows. Normally we would go to the Stake Center to watch a live broadcast...but someone has robbed every single capilla in the stake with the exception of Teotihuacan because it is so far away from anything else. They robbed the computers and the satellite and the telephones and the TV´s and everything. They broke in the doors, cut the locks to the gates outside, and when they couldn´t get through the doors in the chapel they just cut a hole in the wall. So I don´t know.

The Zocolo is the main one in the center of Mexico City, Zocolo means town square...but it refers to the main one in DF. It is about 3 hours away, which sounds like a lot, but people here travel a ton. I´m used to traveling everyday in cars, buses or subways.

I got the package !!!!!! Thank you soo much. I loved the pictures and the candy. The trail mix reminded me of BYU and tastes really good because they don´t really sell trail mix here.
I love the mini PME. It will be much easier to carry around to meetings and things...I just wish it was easier to transfer all my notes and thoughts from the big one to the little one. Thank you soo much.

I also received a letter from Jason and his family. Jason I hope you keep choosing the right. I love reading your letters. Even though life might be pretty boring in the Tri Cities you are very lucky to have the family you do and the friends that you do. I think about you every now and then and I miss you too. In 17 months we can catch up.

I got the Christmas Picture from the Hares. Thank you, it sounds like everything is going well. Tell Michael not to lose his VLC on his first date.
Grandma Andy I got your letter also. Thank you so much. I appreciate your prayers and support. When does Jacob return from his mission? I am so glad I had grandparents who were firm in the faith and who taught my parents to be firm in the faith who taught me to be true to the faith.

Bro and Sis. Beldin thank you for the calendar. I put it up on the wall in our apartment. I didn´t have one before and so it will be really useful. It was really thoughtful of you to send the calendar and card. I hope everything is going well for you.

Ok....I think that was all the questions. Today is my cumplemes. 7 months. I don´t know where all the time is going. I thought I should tell you a little bit about the people that we are teaching.

The family Islas Mosquero. We found them several weeks ago by contacting their son Yonatan. He was walking by himself home from school and something told me to contact him. But we don´t usually contact jovenes because their addresses are unreliable and many times their parents get really mad. So I didn´t contact him. He went down one street and we went down another...and 3 minutes later he emerged from a street right in front of us. I took this as a sign that I should contact him. He told us that we could come by, and we put an appointment. Then later that day he sent us a text that said that he wasn´t going to be there for our appointment. So we basically forgot about him until 2 weeks later we were eating with a sister in Puxtla, where Yonatan lives, and we decided to find the house and see what happens. We went and found a family of 5, ready to hear the gospel. We brought them to church Sunday and they really liked it. They have their baptismal date for the 6th of March. Moral of the story, if the Spirit tells you to do something, do it. Don´t reason your way out of it because God knows more than us, and His thoughts are not our thoughts.

Also I don´t know if you remember but Elder Llanos and I baptized a lady named Sonia. She has two kids that are still JW´s and so we have been trying to contact them for weeks. We finally got to teach them. We taught the restauración and I felt the Spirit so strongly. They said that we had cleared up a lot of their doubts. They promised to pray about Joseph Smith. We went back to check on their prayers and the boy (Sonia has 2 kids, a girl of 16 and a boy of 11) said that he prayed. He felt a feeling like electricity crawling all over him, and said that he felt like it was an answer from God. But he doesn´t want to go to Church, and doesn´t want to be baptized because he is scared of breaking his commitment with the JW´s. It is so frustrating because Sonia told us to give him more we had to drop them. He KNOWS it is true, he knows it. Agency is a wonderfully sad thing sometimes.

I read Casey´s letter about giving everything to the Lord. That is something that I had been pondering for a while. I cannot be an effective servant of the Lord and hold back a little piece of my heart. He has to change me. My will must become His will as His will is one with the Father´s. I don´t want to be the same as I was before my mission. I want to give everything, everything to Him. I cannot afford not to. Some people say that returned missionaries are weird, I want to be weird. I want to give soul heart and mind with an eye single to the glory of God. And how great is His glory? I can´t be afraid, I can´t be timid, I don´t have time to be anything other than what Christ wants for me. Eternity is now. I want to fall at the feet of Christ at the end of my life, and mission, and tell him that I have given everything, that I have been changed. I never ever want to do anything that would offend or hurt Him. He is my King, and my Savior, and I love Him so, so much. The time to change is never tomorrow, it is always now. There is no gray, only black and white. Christ or Satan, and every thought, action or word that is not helping to build the Kingdom of God is helping to build the kingdom of Satan.
(Note from Peggy: This goes along with a great quote from Elder M. Russell Ballard, "Remember, eternity is now, not a vague, distant future. We prepare each day, right now, for eternal life. If we are not preparing for eternal life, we are preparing for something else, perhaps something far less.")

I love you guys so much. More than I ever thought possible before my mission.

As for Egypt, I had no idea. We really don´t know anything that is happening in the real world. I heard that a senator from Texas got killed the other month...but not much more than that. Nothing happens that God does not want to happen. All things work together for His will and our good.

Dad thank you for your letter this last week. I am getting a long with E Ramos, he is a really good missionary and I am really glad to have him as my companion. He sometimes lacks self confidence, but I have been there and done that too. I love you all so much,

Elder Nelson

P.S. I think you should tell the lynching story for the ward news letter.- I want to see their reaction...but don´t tell Grandma Nelson...I don´t think she would like it.

Tuesday, February 15, 2011


(Note from Peggy: In my email to Braden this week, I titled it "I don't scare that easily". I was referring to his last letter when he teased me that telling us he went to see a judge probably scared me. After receiving this letter, I won't ever tell him that again. I had not meant it as a challenge....)

Dear Family,

Well this was a really weird week. But first, the questions. It costs about 500 pesos to marry people here, which doesn´t seem like a lot in American money...but I could live off of 500 pesos for several weeks. Many people live in Free Union (living together but not married) simply because they are scared to commitment. It is much easier to separate from your wife if you are not married, and you don´t have the same type of loyalty as you would to a lawfully wedded wife. It is really sad, but it is a major part of the culture here. There is a lot of disloyalty between husbands and wives.

I am starting to get used to the system of transportation here. It´s kind of weird, because at home we would just take the car and drive where we wanted to go, and if we were left without a car we really wouldn´t know how to get around without help from a friend. Here, I can go wherever I want and never have to use a car. At home I never liked taking the city bus, but here it is much easier to use public transportation.

We see the Martinez-Avila family a lot, two or three times a week because they have a fast food business...hamburguesas, huraches, papas a la francesa, etc. They live in one of the areas where we work the most often so we visit them every now and then to check up on them. Jose Luis was called as 1st counselor in the Sunday School and Eulalia was called as Nursery Leader. They are doing well, and working towards their goal of being sealed in the temple for time and all eternity in 7 or 8 months. I still don´t feel old in the mission, I still feel like I don´t really know what I´m doing and I´m getting really comfortable with not knowing what I´m doing. Realizing that I can´t do it by myself makes everything easier. In 1 week I complete 7 months, but I still have 1 year 5 months to enjoy before I have to come home again. Not that I don´t want to see you all, but I like being here.

This week I learned a new word. Lynchar. There was an attempted kidnapping in Santa Maria (part of our area about 10 minutes from where we live) where they tried to kidnap a Mom and her teenage boy. The kidnapping went wrong and they ended up killing the boy and shooting the mom. Then they tried to escape, but we live in small town Mexico. All of the men from the pueblo went out searching for the kidnappers, and they closed the highway by stoning every car that passed by. We were working in San Sebastian, the next pueblo over from Santa Maria. They ended up catching the kidnappers, and they help them captive. At this point the police were payed off and so they didn´t do anything. There were about 200 people in the town square of San Sebastian in front of the cathedral yelling lynchales, lynchales. Here in small pueblo Mexico the people serve their own justice. They took the kidnappers to the town square, doused them with gasoline, and lit a match....All the people were out in the streets telling us to be careful and to go home because it was dangerous. We didn´t really know what was going on, but all the women were on the street corners gossiping, so we just asked them. We tried to go to the house early, but they had closed the highway by stoning the we had to walk in the dark along a deserted highway. Luckily some members saw us and brought their car to give us a ride home. The hermano had been beaten by the mob. It was little crazy and didn´t really seem real. But I never felt like I was in danger, I simply felt calm and actually was kind of dumbfounded that the police would just watch as the people burned the kidnappers alive. Luckily we didn´t have to watch that part.

Ok, cool experience number 2 for the week. (Note from Peggy: The preceding paragraph was "cool experience number 1?) Today we went to the Zocolo again, it is a huge town square in Mexico City where there are a ton of museums and a huge cathedral. We went to the cathedral to see what it looks like. It is the biggest one in Mexico City, and it is really cool inside. We saw a Mass, but only in passing. The huge walls and gothic statues and pictures of the saints reminded me a lot of Angels and Demons. Then when we were leaving a nice old lady asked us we would like to go to the crypt where they bury the arch bishops and other dignitaries of the Catholic Church in Mexico City. We obviously said yes. We went beneath the Cathedral into the crypt, and it reminded me a lot more of Angels and Demons. She took us to see the tomb of her husband and daughter, and afterwards asked special permission to show us the crypt of the arch bishops. The ceiling was pure gold and the tombs of 30 arch bishops (kind of like general authorities). The bad part is that I forgot my camera....and that it was a once in a life time opportunity because you have to have special authorization to even enter the crypt in the first place. We also went to the Palacio de las Bellas Artes.

Elder Ramos is doing well and progressing a ton. We baptized a woman named Norma this week. She is 19. I found her when I was still with Elder Llanos, and when we found her she was drinking and smoking and using cocaine. But she dropped everything to join the Church. Her Mom died 2 weeks ago and that was really hard for her, she relapsed into drinking and smoking, but we taught her about the temple and baptisms for the dead and she got hooked on something other than drugs. The change that people make in coming to know the Church is is unbelievable what people are willing to do. They think that we as missionaries are soo good, that we know so much and that we have helped them so much. But we don´t know anything, we are just normal people preaching an abnormal message. They are the ones that change themselves, we just watch.

This week was a little hard, the work suffered a little bit, and our numbers are down. I always feel bad when we don´t meet then norms of the mission, because when we don´t we are failing the Lord in the goals that He has set for us. Pero hay que seguir adelante con firmeza en Cristo.

Melissa- Thank you so much for your letter. Teotihuacan is really cool, someday I will have to take you there. Keep learning Spanish. Yo le amo tanto, siga leyendo sus escrituras y haciendo sus oraciones. El Señor le bendecirá. You are a special person, don´t ever let anyone tell you differently.

Cameron- Thanks for your letter. Chemistry is the best!! Just wait until college, that is where you start learning the crazy interesting stuff. One day we can study together...but you gotta go to BYU first and I have to finish things up here in Mexico. Everything that you learn in Chemistry can and should be applied to the Gospel. The two go hand in hand-

Mom-- Who is Maria? (Note from Peggy: Maria is a lady he referred to in his last letter who had lost her husband recently. He must have forgotten about her.) I love you, work hard to find references for the missionaries if they deserve it, if not work hard to find people for the gospel because everyone deserves a chance to accept eternal salvation.

Love you all, I pray for you all every day.


Elder Nelson

Wearing My Shoes Out...

Hello Family!!

Well another week went by really fast. I don´t know where the time is going, but it is going fast. This week I was thinking a lot about how much I love you guys. I´m not homesick, because I Iove the mission too much to be homesick, but I was thinking about how much I would love to see you and talk to you. Emails are good, and letters are probably one of the best things that we get here in the mission, but nothing compares with a voice and a hug. You never know what you have until you are deprived of it, that is soo true. No I haven´t sent a package, nor have I received a package or letter from mutual. We really only get pouch about once every cambios. I will send a package soon...I just can´t find my SD card so I´m going to have to buy a card first. Although the pictures are good, you can never know exactly what I am doing or seeing or eating until I can explain it on the phone or in person. There is just too much to describe and not enough pictures.

Also, sorry for this letter, this keyboard is really old and doesn´t work very well. The keys are all sticky. Also in many of my pictures I am wearing my glasses because I take the contacts out to clean them every 2 weeks or so, but then don´t have time to put them back in again. So I end up wearing glasses for 4 or 5 days until I get sick of them. The air in Teotihuacan is pretty clean relatively speaking. I have 3 pairs of contacts I think if you could send more I would appreciate it. If not then I will just wear my glasses.

Elder Ramos went to the MTC in Mexico City, and the temple too. He wasn´t endowed when he entered the MTC, so he received his endowment in the MTC.

That makes me really happy that the lady who cleans for Grandma is from Pachuca, that is part of my mission, and is only 40 minutes or an hour from where I am. The truth is that we really do wear our shoes out. I have never seen so many shoes that are just completely trashed, but that is that same as the culture here. Wear it until you can´t anymore, because there just isn´t very much
money for extra things. My shoes are still going strong. The shoelaces have broken several times, but I just tie a knot and keep going. I have only been using one pair of shoes so I can save the others. They still look pretty good, I shine them every day. There is one part where they are breaking a little, but you can´t see it very well. I think this pair will last at least until my year mark, and the other ones should last until the end of my mission.

Elder Ramos doesn´t really like to play sports....he likes museums and arts more. We are kind of opposite in a lot of things and sometimes it is frustrating, but I get along pretty well most of the time and I am glad to have him as a companion.

Well this week went by really fast because we were really busy. On Monday we went to check a reference from the Centro para Visitantes in Axapusco (ahapoosco). I had never been to Axapusco, and only vaguely knew where it was. It is about an hour from San Juan where we live. But Presidente told us that we need to go and check the references right away, so we went and finally after some searching found the house. Maria (65) was waiting for us. She had recently lost her husband and was really really nice. We taught the Plan of Salvation and she told us at the end that she knew that God had sent us to her that day. She went to church Sunday and was really excited. I felt the Spirit so strongly with her when we taught. God blesses us sooo much. There are so many people just waiting for us to find them that God has prepared for us.

On Saturday we went to Nezahualcoyotl to see a judge. That sentence scared Mom I think. But we went to marry an investigator and his less active girlfriend. They had been living together about a year. Jose Gonzalez, I think I have written about him before. Nessa ( the shortened and easier version of Nezahualcoyotl) is the most dangerous and most ugly part of the mission. There are aton of cars, a ton of people, a ton of smog and a ton dirt. It is just really dirty in DF. There is a judge there that helps missionaries with investigators that want to get married. He asks less than the others and asks less documentation. Jose and his wife have a baby that is just over 2 weeks old, and so the wife didn´t want to be out of the house very long. But the judge took forever to arrive and so she got mad. She almost ruined the whole thing by saying she didn´t want to get married anymore and just wanted to leave. But thankfully everything worked out and they got married and Jose was baptized yesterday. It was kind of stressful.

Joe, thank you soo much for your letter. The truth is that I just really don´t know what I am doing a lot of the time. Sometimes I wonder if I am doing things right, and sometimes I just get plain frustrated...with the work and with myself. But the truth is I don´t really have anything to complain about. God is always with us if we can just go to work. I could never imagine only teaching 1 or 2 lessons a week, I have a great respect for missionaries in the U.S. now that I have served in Mexico for awhile. We are supposed to baptize every week, and we taught 24 lessons this last week. And it is not cold. So I really don´t have much to complain about. Your experience really helped. I love you, and I appreciate how you treat my sister.

Darci, thank you for your letter. One thing that helped me a lot with Spanish was not being afraid of making mistakes. You are going to make mistakes, but God will help you. Trust in yourself, and you will do just fine. Also another thing that helped me was carrying around a paper in my pocket...and every time I saw or heard a word that I didn´t know I wrote it down, or if you see a word or phrase that you don´t know how to say in Spanish, write it down and study it later. I love you so much. Thank you for your prayers and letters. I have learned a lot from you and I admire you a lot.

Cameron, I love ya. I know things are pretty hectic right now, I was there once. Don´t ever get discouraged or let your work load stress you out too much. I was really stressed during my junior year, and the truth is that life is better without stress. Read the Book of Mormon everyday, don´t ever miss a will help you soooo much.

Kolby, don´t crash. Everytime I see kids playing soccer in thestreet I think about you...and although I´m not very good I´m becoming a decent goalie. Practice your piano and read the Book of Mormon every day. When we truly understand and love our Heavenly Father there is no longer a reason to disobey.

Well, I love you all soo much but I am out of time. Melissa I will write to you next week....sorry I didn´t have time but I love you and think about you and pray for you.

I love you all more than I thought possible before my mission. Have a good week and say your prayers as a family everyday..and read the Book of Mormon.

Con Amor,

Elder Nelson