Monday, March 28, 2011

Something Good Everyday

Dear Family

Well, 1 more week has gone by, another week of experience, another week to try to become a better missionary, another week trying to help the zone get better. The churches are nice here in Pachuca, and the grass is actually green. They are a little bit older, kind of the like the Richland Stake Center because Pachuca was one of the first places where the Church really got established here in Hidalgo. I remember basketball yes, but can I play very well, no. The mission gives so many blessings, but physical fitness and skills is not one of them. I’m going to have a lot of work to do when I get home to get back into the kind of shape I was in before I left. Also I think Pachuca is really high up in altitude, I’m not really sure though. Kyle Quigley is coming home? That´s so weird, it seems like he just left. Also weird that Jackson only has 2 months until he hits his year mark. We are not surrounded by volcanoes, those are in Tecamac and Ixtapaluca, we just have a bunch of hills.

As for what I do as a Zone Leader. We go on splits once or twice a week with missionaries in the zone to try to help them get excited and find out what problems and challenges they have and how we can help them. We also give capacitacion (I don’t know if that is how you spell it, or if that is even the right word, but I couldn’t think of anything else because he word in Spanish is capacitaciones) in the district classes to try to help the zone with the different difficulties that they have. I am a lot busier and a lot more tired now, but this is what the Lord wants me to do. We still get to work in our area, but with a lot less time than before. We have to put the example, because if we are not baptizing then how can the zone have confidence in the things that we are teaching them?

Speaking of which we had a miracle this week. The sister of the 1st counselor in the bishopric of Nuevo Hidalgo has come to church for 3 years, and never wanted to be baptized. Tons of missionaries have gone to her house and tried everything they know how to do to baptize her. But she never wanted it. This Sunday in church the bishop told us that she had finally accepted the challenge and is going to be baptized Thursday. This is truly a miracle because we didn’t do anything, we just showed up to church. I know that God hears our prayers because we had been praying really hard for a miracle. We hadn’t baptized since cambios, which is a long time here in the East. We were worried because we weren’t baptizing. I was stressed out because we had been working as hard as we knew how, we were trying to be more organized and more efficient and yet nothing was working. We simply weren’t finding the elegidos. But God heard our prayers, and although we still have a lot of work to do, this takes a lot of stress off of my mind.
Melissa I love you so much, thank you for your letter, I hope that you learn to love the prophets because they will bless your life so much. I think about you a lot and pray for you everyday.

Dad, thank you for your letter. It was inspired because we have to give a capacitation on the Book of Mormon this week and I am going to use your experience. Thank you for your letter, I love you so much and hope to be like you someday.

Mom I love you, I hope you had a good birthday. Tell Grandma Happy Birthday from Mexico. I love her and am praying for her everyday. I love the mission even though there are days and weeks that are really hard, something good happens everyday. Sorry if I sound a little stressed or grumpy sometimes in my letters. I´m not. I´m really happy, but the weight of the work sometimes overwhelms me like my junior year. I just need to relax and be happy, then I will be successful.

Elder Nelson.

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Grandes de la Misión

Leaving Teotihuacan on his way to Pachuca!

*Thanks to Darci and Joe for their translations in this letter, found in parenthesis!

Querido Familia, (Dear Family)

Well, the time is flying really fast here, we’re so busy that it seems that the weeks go by like days. Primero, (First) to answer the questions. Pastes are really famous in Pachuca, they are basically the same as the pasties mom makes, or empanadas. What they have in them depends, there is mole rojo, (red mole) and verde (green), cheese, sausage...basically whatever you want. They are crispy, the bread is flaky, and they are really good. I had them once about 3 months ago, but I haven’t had them yet here in Pachuca.

Best Birthday cards EVER!!
*Note from Mom...for someone who has been known to wrap up SOMETHING, ANYTHING he found in his room just before everyone gives their presents to the birthday person, this is pretty good!

By the way...HAPPY BIRTHDAY MOM!! Sorry I am a little late, but I sent pictures to make up for it. As for living conditions, the house is bigger. We have two floors, 2 rooms, a living room and a kitchen, but the kitchen only has a fridge and a camping stove. Mom, hot water from the tap doesn’t exist in Mexico. All the water has to be heated through the boiler and the gas. Well, hot water from the tap does exist but only if you are really rich. Speaking of which, the ward that we live in is really rich. It´s kind of weird to be in a really nice house in Mexico. There isn´t really a main industry in Mexico, but the majority of the members of our ward sell Herbalife. As for mining, there are small mining towns in the mountains here in Pachuca, it’s called Real de Monte. There is a branch there and we are assigned to it, but it is 2 hours away so we never go there to work. The thing about living conditions is that we are living in missionary apartments, so they are dirty because many of the missionaries don’t like to clean, at first it was really gross, but I clean the apartment every week and just have to deal with it. I think that I have changed a lot, looking at my pictures from the day I entered the MTC and looking in the mirror there is a big difference, and no it’s not just the tan. Lots of things have changed. I can’t stand living in a dirty apartment for one, I can’t stand leaving dishes in the sink dirty, I can’t stand it when there is clothes on the floor, and I hate it when my desk is really messy. One thing that I have learned is that things just feel better (the spirit is more present) when things are clean. I feel weird saying that the way I used to keep my room, but it’s how it is. (Note from Mom: I have pictures….)

The language is basically the same, there are small differences in the phrases they use, but the accent is the same as Teotihucan, actually Pachuca is only an hour away from Teotihuacan. Pachuca is up in the mountains kind of. It is in the foothills, so there are a lot of hills. I am hiking up steep streets everyday, and it is really tiring. It is really pretty here, actually if you can imagine Provo, it is almost identical to Pachuca. It is always windy like the Tri Cities and in the nights it gets cold, but not as cold as Provo. Pachuca itself is completely city, there are about a million people that live here. But our area has some of the pueblitos ("little cities", like suburbs) outside of Pachuca, and there is a lot of open area in between.

The callus is not a wart. I´ve had it for 4 months now, and it is just a callus in the middle of the ball of my foot. It doesn´t hurt when I have shoes on, only in the night when I´m wearing my slippers.

Familia Islas Mosquero

Carmen Castillo

I attached pictures of the family Islas Mosquero and Carmen Castillo. My last week in Teotihuacan we baptized the mom and the son from the family, and Carmen, and we had a baptismal interview scheduled for the two daughters of Carmen and the Dad and other son and daughter of the family Islas Mosquero. I don’t know if they actually got baptized, or anything. I have to wait until I can see Elder Ramos again to find out what happened. The week before I got to Pachuca Elder Hunt and his companion had dropped every single investigator that they had. So we had to start from nothing. It made me think of the story Joe told me about 1 month and a half ago. We have been working really hard, talking and contacting every one, asking references from the members, using the area book, and we are starting to find people to teach. Yesterday we were walking to where we were going to take a combi (like a bus) to go to a sita (appointment), and we contacted a man as he was entering his gate. He asked us if we would like to come in, and we obviously said yes. It turns out he has been a member for 20 years, but inactive for 14. He told us how people had visited him off and on, but that he didn´t like how they felt. They came only to fulfill their visits for the month and that was it. He is a little bit older and has two children, one of which came downstairs to listen and isn´t a member. I had been praying inside all day for someone to teach, new investigators. God really does listen to our prayers, He is my Father in the same way that Dad is my Father, but sometimes it is a little hard to visualize that.

Also Thursday I was in splits with Elder Alarcón, the district leader in Tizayuca. He and his companion have been fighting a lot, and their numbers are embarrassing. So we did splits with them to try to help them find success and harmony in their district and companionship. I feel really weird trying to give consejo (advice) and correction to other missionaries because I only have 8 months (today actually) in the mission. But we saw miracles Thursday. Splits are 24 hours, and one companionship stays in our area and the other stays in the area of the elders with whom we are doing the splits. I went to Tizayuca, and we worked really hard talking to everyone in the street and checking up on a bunch of references. We walked past a street, and I stopped. Elder Alarcón (he’s from Argentina) asked me if I had felt to the impression to go down that street also. So we went down the street knocking doors and talking to everyone. We finally came to a house with a teenager out front washing and working on the car, we asked if we could talk with his mom and he said "pasen." ("go on in") We talked with his mom and she accepted everything really well, and was really excited to go to church. There is such a difference between people we have to convince, and people that have really been prepared by God and His angels to receive us. There is a spark inside of them, they want to do everything of their own will, and not because we told them that they need to. Later, it´s funny how God uses other people to lead us to His elect. We contacted a man (still in Tizayuca) and asked if we could come by his house to share a message with him. He said okay, so we walked with him to his house and began to teach. After we taught about the day of reposo (rest) he told us that he was going to have to work Sunday...but right afterwards his mom came in, so we invited her, and she said she had been searching for a church and was really excited to go.

Tell Grandma I love her too, I wish I could see her and come to her house and eat some of her desserts. Mexico has really good food, but their desserts are a little lacking. Tell her she´s just got to keep going, keep reading her scriptures and saying her prayers for a year and a half more. Then I will come and visit her everyday.

I was talking with my companion this week about how we could help the zone, because it´s not going very well right now and it is stressing me out. We were talking about the "grandes de la misión," ("the great ones of the mission") the missionaries that baptized 30 people in 6 weeks, the missionaries that when we say their name, we just have a sense of awe. I think that everything has to do with the vision and drive that a missionary has. A missionary that has a vision and faith that they are going to baptize every week (because that is the expectation here in the Este (east)) is going to do everything they can think of to baptize every week. It doesn´t matter what area or zone they are in, a missionary that is really successful has a vision and confidence of greatness. I want to be that missionary, one of the great ones, one of the ones that had such great faith that people just leapt into the font. I know that God wants that type of success for everyone of His missionaries, but few are willing to pay the price. We have to be so humble that God´s power becomes our power, that His vision becomes our vision, and that His love becomes our love. When we can do that, there is no limit to the success that a missionary can have here in Misión Mexico Este. I just have a long ways to go before I get there.

I love you all so much. Sorry my spelling is bad, but I don´t speak English anymore, I´m forgetting things and words. Cameron, I love you. Kolby, eche las ganas, le amo. (we're not completely sure... the first part is definitely a slang phrase, our best guess is "keep winning." then le amo means I love you) Melissa, le amo bastante, solo puedo imaginar que tan grande es ahorita...sea una mujer digna de servir en la mision. (Melissa, I love you so much, I can only imagine how big you are right now... I'm sure you are a woman worthy of serving a mission). Mom, I love you so much, I hope you had a happy birthday and St. Patrick’s day. Dad I love ya too. Darci and Joe, I didn´t forget about you two. I love you and I hope that Paul is ok.

I love you guys,

Elder Nelson

Monday, March 14, 2011


Hello Family!!

This week has been really crazy and really busy and a little bit long. Sorry I didn’t put who the people were in the pictures but I forgot and now there isn’t time. I will have to tell you all about them when I get home in 2 years. I am feeling better, I didn´t really eat anything from Sunday until Friday and the doctor (a miembro here in my new area) told me that it was a stomach infection from the food. But don’t worry because I am better now. No, I have not had bloody noses....which surprised me a little bit. As for Elder Warr, I saw him 3 days after and his nose had a huge band aid...I laughed pretty hard when he told me the story. Since he is a secretary the whole mission knew and everyone was laughing...moral of the story, don’t throw apples at your companion’s face. His nose has since recovered, but I don’t know if his pride will ever come back. (Elder Warr was Braden's companion in the MTC...his companion tossed him an apple and it broke his nose.)

The English class was an interesting experience. We mostly taught vocabulary and conversations. Elder Garcia started it in an attempt to try to find more people to teach, but since the only people that showed up are 7,8,9 and 10 year olds, we didn´t really find much fruit. We (Elder Ramos and I) taught for about an hour every Saturday. The Coke you saw was for Elder Ramos, he gets migraines sometimes and his medicine is really expensive, but Coke works just the same so we use that instead. I do drink pop when people give it to me, but I still prefer water.

Ok, the news that everyone has been waiting for...where did Elder Nelson get transferred to? I am in Pachuca in the state of Hidalgo right now. They called me as the new Zone Leader in Pachuca, we are responsible for 18 missionaries and 2 stakes. If we thought I didn´t really know what I was doing when I was called as district leader and trainer, try tripling that. We have 4 wards here in Pachuca and we live in the ward Nuevo Hidalgo. My companion is Elder Hunt, from Idaho. He has 23 months in the mission and will finish in April. He is really energetic and is really excited about the work and we are getting along really well. He is struggling a little bit because he really loved his old companion, but we are working things out. We speak mostly Spanish, but sometimes English and it is kinda weird to speak English. Pachuca is about 3 hours from the temple, so we didn’t get into the area until about 5 or 6 Tuesday. The next day was the consejo de lideres de zona, in (by) the temple so it was another day of traveling. We have had so many meetings and capacitations that we really haven’t had much time to be missionaries this week. I have never been so tired in my life, but I know that it is what the Lord requires of me.

On Sunday we had 4 wards to go to. 1 is 2 hours away, so we didn’t go to that one, but the others started at 9, 10 and 11. I had the opportunity to give a talk in the third one but forgot until about half hour before. Luckily I´m good at faking things like that. Well, sorry this letter is really short but we´re out of time this week. I love you all so much. Write me all your questions that I didn´t answer and I will answer them this week that is coming. I know that this church is true, I know that the Lord really does require all that we are and that He has a plan for me. He has plans and goals and hopes individually for me and for each of us. Melissa I loved your letter, thank you so much. Cameron thank you so much for your letter also. I´m so glad that you can experience what I get to experience, the joy of the obra misional (missionary work). Keep finding people to baptize. I love you all so much,

Until the next week,

Elder Nelson

Monday, March 7, 2011

Goodbye Teotihuacan :(

Hola Familia!

This week we have bad news, I have cambios. I have to leave Teotihuacan. I had to say good-bye to the family Martinez-Avila, and it was really hard. I know that I will see them again, hopefully in the temple. You never know how much you love people until you have to tell them goodbye.

I have never gotten a blister in a normal day of work, the only time I have gotten a blister is when we were playing soccer on Monday´s. But I do have a weird callus in the middle of the sole of my foot and it kind of hurts when I walk sometimes, but not too bad. I have been lucky in that regard. As for eating in the apartment, I have breakfast and sometimes dinner in the apartment. Breakfast consists of Azucaradas (Mexican generic brand of Frosted Flakes) and water using my filtration water bottle that they gave us in the MTC. I also buy bolillos, (rolls), and jam and cajete. Cajete is something like nutella-peanut butter is way expensive here. Sometimes in the beginning of the month when we have money we buy ham and cheese to put on our bolillos. Dinner we usually eat about 9 when we get back and is the same as breakfast. We have a one burner electric stove to cook on but there usually isn´t time.

As you can see it is getting hotter here, and yes I am getting sun burned, or tanned...usually both. I use sun block everyday but sometimes I forget, so that´s when I get sunburned. The sunscreen I use almost everyday, but the mosquito spray I have only used once. Maybe I will use it more in the summer, or in the time of rains.
I am a little bit sick right now, last night I almost didn´t sleep because my stomach hurt and today I have a fever. It´s not very high 99.7, but a fever nonetheless. I´m typing slow because I don´t feel very good so this might be a little short. I´m sending this right now so I can change computer...or actually I just figured out how to use the USB port on this thing. I sent pictures, of all the recent baptisms, the English class that we have been teaching, tacos al pastor, and the sky yesterday night. I tried to send a video I took of this guy that is always on the buses that we have to take to deliver pouch Sundays. He is an older gentleman, about 60, with a huge mustache and he always brings his guitar. He sings mariachi type music the whole trip and then people pay him their change at the end. But you´ll have to wait until you get my SD card to listen.

As for the miracle with Fransisco. It was more a miracle with his mom. We received their address as a reference from the Visitors Center here in Mexico. They live about 40 minutes from the church, so we were a little apprehensive about going to follow up. Lots of times people don´t have the money to travel the church and so we don´t like to baptize so far out. But we went because we felt like we should go. They accepted everything really well, we taught the plan of salvation because Maria Elena had lost her husband about 4 years ago. They accepted to pray about the plan of salvation. When we went back in a couple days to check how their prayers went Maria Elena told us that she received an answer. She told us she had dreamed a dream before we had come the first time. In her dream she saw Elder Ramos and I ascending into heaven in the midst of clouds, but she still didn´t know who we were until we came the first time. After she saw us ascending into heaven, she dreamed that she was in the chapel, but she had never been to the chapel. She was alone in the chapel and didn´t know how she had entered, but she heard a deep rich voice say (in spanish) "Be still, and hear the word of the Lord." Then we came knocking on her door, and she realized who we were because of her dream. How cool right!!? The only reason she didn´t get baptised with Fransisco is because she is having some old woman health problems and the doctor told her that she could for a couple weeks. Actually she´s going to be baptised this Sunday, but I won´t be there.

Well, I love you all, remind me to talk about Carmen and the family Islas Mosquero this next week.
Cameron, I love ya. Keep doing what you´re doing. Don´t crash again.
Kolby congrats on making sort of varsity, now you just have to earn your spot....or break the legs of the players so you can play more. Remind me to tell you about being shy this week that is coming.
Dad, thanks for the sports update. It seems like everytime we start to earn attention on a national level one of our stupid players has to break the rules and get suspended. I love you so much, thank you for setting a good example for me to go on the mission. Every now and then it would be nice to hear some of you stories.
Mom, Time is flying by and before you know it I will be landing in Pasco. But I was thinking about that the other day. I think it would be better if I told you I was going home a day later than I really am so I can do what Dad did and arrive at your front door in a taxi to do a door approach. But I´m still thinking about it.
Darci and Joe...I love ya. Keep being righteous.