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

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