Monday, April 25, 2011

Fire in the Belly

Dear Family,

What a week it has been here in Pachuca. The week was a little bit hard because it was "La Semana Santa" and all the Catholics were out in force on the streets and no one really wanted to talk to us. But the Lord siempre pone los medios para nosotros. We found a family of 6!! They live in a colony that is called Europa, and it is the poorest place in Pachuca. There aren´t any paved roads, and it is hasta el cerro. (which is a saying that means far away). We went to Europa because we had a sita with a person that we contacted on the street, but their address didn´t exist, so we knocked their door. I love stuff like that.

Ok, I am going to start by answering the letters that you guys sent me last week. Mom, I didn´t get any packages, but they told me that the pouch personal was going to be delivered by Presidente in our interviews this week. My shirts are 15 and one half, and are Stafford "the oxford shirt." I don’t know if anyone will know it is my birthday...I don’t really like attention but I think we will have a Pechanga with one of the families that always helps us out in everything. I thought of something else that I would like for my birthday...if someone could make a copy of every single cd of efy and church music we have and send it to me for my birthday I would love it. I love the music I have, but after a little bit ya get I can´t believe I just spelled it that way...bored of the same Christmas songs. I have a cd player in the house and it would be easier I think for you guys to send cd´s to me.

The rainy season is supposed to start in May and it has been really hot here, I keep getting sunburned on my nose, I constantly look like Rudolph. Last Sunday something really cool happened. Supposedly every year in Pachuca on the day that Christ supposedly died there is a huge storm. Last Sunday was that day...because it rained and hailed so hard that it looked like it was snowing and there were rivers in the streets...literally about 4 or 5 inches of water flowing down the street. We were stuck about 4 blocks from the house under the overhang of a taco stand and didn´t really know what we were going to do until a member saw us and gave us a ride to the house. I tried to put the pictures on my flashdrive today, but this internet didn´t have the slot for my SD card and I forgot my cable. I will do it next week and send the sd card.

As for missionaries, Elder Casillas and I are in charge of 2 stakes, Pachuca Mexico and Pachuca Sur, Pachuca Mexico has 6 missionaries and Pachuca Sur has 14. So in total there are 20 missionaries in 2 stakes. Jase Ward is in my zone!!!! He is in the Tecnologico ward. I am way excited to work with him, he seems to be doing well and wants to work hard. We taught their district class on Wednesday and it was cool to see him. My new companion is Elder Casillas, he is from Guadalajara and is 26 years old. He was baptized about 4 years ago. He has been teaching me a lot. I am training him as a Zone Leader because he just barely got called as one. He is a nice guy, I get along with him really well....but he is a little serious all the time. I was used to a Casey Hare/Jackson type companion, but it is nice because he really has desires to have success and we are going to baptize all of Pachuca.

To answer the questions that Dad had the last time. When I stay with other Elders I usually sleep on the floor or on a chair or couch if they have one. I stayed with Elder Jordan and Elder Rodriguez, and they had a couch, so I slept on that. The truth is I love Pachuca, it looks a lot like home. The members in Pachuca are really good, and we have an amazing Bishop that is always helping us out. I feel like I have been here before or that I was born here. Our area has a mixture of pueblo and city. Pachuca is a city of about 1 million people and we spend most of our time in the city because there are more people to talk to. Our area is the side of hills, kind of like Badger Mountain but full of houses. We can see the whole valley and all of Pachuca and it is soo cool. Pachuca looks a lot like home, desert, but with more hills that are bigger, kinda like Provo. It is at the base of the mountain range and is the highest in altitude, something like 8000 feet. Here in Pachuca (and in DF) people don’t have landscaping, there isn’t grass because all the houses are joined together. I will try to take a picture and send it to you. To contact people what we do most of the time is walk down a street and talk to everybody, the pedestrians the businesses the street vendors...everybody. When there aren´t people in the street we knock doors and visit members. The most effective is talking to everybody on the street, we can usually make 4 or 5 appointments for the afternoon by talking to everybody in the morning, then we fill the morning with appointments by talking to people in the night time.

Kolby, study chapter 3 of PMG if you ant to know the basic doctrine of the church, try to find a scripture to go with every single sentence...that´s what I am doing and it is really helping me understand how inspired PMG is. Keep reading in Spanish...Spanish is the best.

Cameron...yes I am still Zone Leader and yes I am still in Pachuca, I think I will be here for at least 5 more months because they don´t change zone leaders very often. The food is better in Pachuca...people here have more money. There are still tortillas and salsa. Congrats on your finish your duty to have to be better than me and I never finished it. Also...when I read that you sent Kolby a text from the bathroom I laughed really hard, and thinking about that situation, there really wasn´t much else you could have done. I support your text.

There were a lot of changes in the mission. Every single companionship in the zone except one had cambios. One of the Assistants Elder Walk is going home at the end of this he got President to let him train a new missionary as a district leader in the zone where he started his mission, Pachuca. It is such a blessing to have him here and we are learning a lot from him. We received 24 new missionaries, 16 Americans! We have 4 in our zone. I was looking back at pictures of me with Elder Llanos and I can´t believe so much time has gone by. I have changed so much, I don´t even look the same. I want to train a new missionary so badly, but I can´t now because there are always 2 zone leaders.

Melissa I love ya. I hope you enjoyed BYU, I hope it motivated you to work as hard as you can so you can go there someday. You are going to be so grown up when I get home that I´m not even going to recognize you.

I am doing well. There is a really cool scripture that talks about a fire in my belly that I could not contain. I have heard that phrase a lot of my mission and everytime I hear it I think of Grandpa. If we truly love the Lord, and truly understand the atonement there is no reason to sin. When we do not sin we feel an incredible burning urge to share the gospel. I can´t describe it. It´s like a burning that I couldn´t extinguish even if I wanted to, a love for Christ as our Savior. I love Him so much. Sometimes that fire is put out a little bit when he work is hard or when people don´t listen. But if we are praying correctly it always returns. When we have that fire in our belly, that animo the people take notice and listen more, we have more success. This week I am striving really hard to purify my motives and building the fire in my belly. I have always had the problem of focusing on the numbers and not the people. But I should want the numbers, not for the numbers themselves but for the souls that those numbers represent. I found a really cool scripture in Galatians 5:6, and 1 pedro that says that faith works through our love and charity. I am going to try to send you the news letter from the mission so you can read it. I love you all so much. Thanks for your support and letters and prayers, keep praying because it works.


Elder Nelson

o yeah. I forgot to tell you how they celebrate Easter here. They have a big parade where the Catholic Padres sing and give sermons on different parts of Easter. There are several people carrying an effigy of a crucified Christ and several more carrying a huge cross down the street. They climb the hill and then tie and actual person to a cross. Then afterwards they go party and celebrate Easter with food and drinks that might not be 100 percent appropriate.

Monday, April 18, 2011

Kingdom Hearts

Hola Familia,

Well I knew it was going to be a good day today when I got in the taxi to go play soccer and the radio was playing the Beatles. Then the internet cafe was playing Taylor Swift and it made me think of Jackson and Casey. I love the mission and it has been a crazy couple days here since Elder Hunt left.

Aragon is the colonia where the temple is, in other words, DF is split up into a ton of neighborhoods, but they are all connected, Aragon is where the temple and centro para visitantes is. We still email from internet café’s because the manual misonal says that we shouldn’t use members’ computers. I also found ten pesos today when I sat down to type this email, which made me excited so I thought I would tell you. I still don’t have my new companion until tomorrow, I have been staying with elders from the zone trying to help them in their areas. I was really sad to send Elder Hunt off, I have learned so many things from him and he left sad because he didn’t want to go home. His family was so excited, but he loved the mission so much that he didn’t want to leave. As for my birthday...I really don’t know. I have been thinking about it, but I don’t think you could give me more new Cameron, could you type up the weight lifting sheet from cross-country and send it to me please? I don’t really need anything that I can think of. I wear size small short of the bottoms for garments, and I like dri lux. Also, round neck small talls for the tops also dri lux. I guess for my birthday I would one or two new short sleeve shirts, the ends of the sleeves of all of mine are starting to get stained yellowish, and a corbata or two. But I’m really fine.

As for what I am eating, we eat really well in Pachuca. The other day we had salmon and garlic bread with salad. We finished with ice cream. Pachuca is a blessing really big in the mission because in other parts the food is really chafa. We are eating well, and I am trying to not gain more weight. I haven´t really gained that much, but I weigh about 68 kilos, or 150 pounds now. I still don’t have any news on the mission split or anything...sorry.

The story with Rigo. He is a ¨friend¨ of a young woman in one of our wards. He started to investigate because of her. We went to go teach him and invite him to be baptized. We started teaching about baptism. I was teaching about how baptism is the door to the kingdom of God. When we told him that he could be clean again from all the sins he had committed his face began to change. We were teaching in the chapel and so we used to door of the chapel to explain baptism, and when he understood he just got it. It was exactly like in Alma 22 I think when Aaron is teaching the king, and he asks, qué haré para obtener la vida eterna de que has hablado!! The spirit just entered the room so strongly. We told him that after baptism we have to perseverar hasta el fin. That his testimony was like a camp fire in a forest in the middle of the night. The world needs his fire, and the fire continually needs to be fed, or it will extinguish. He just got so excited and accepted his baptismal date with so much animo. I felt the spirit so strongly. I know that the world needs our fire. The world is so dark, but darkness flees when light arrives. I love the concept of light and darkness in relation to the gospel. The gospel is so simple, and when people really really understand it, there is a fire and excitement that cannot be extinguished. They need it so badly, and we have it. How blessed are we that God gave us this knowledge basically from birth? Where would we be without the campfire? Tripping and tumbling through life in a cold world, we would be miserable.

Also, the last thing that Elder Hunt and I did together was baptize, how cool is that? We baptized a joven named Omar, I talked about him about 5 weeks ago. We finally got him baptized. The spirit is so strong in baptisms, I love them so much. I am so glad that I am here in the Este where we can baptize every week.

Darci, thank you so much for your letter and quotes. I am bien emocionado por ustedes, ¡que padre que van a vivir mas cerca de nosotros!, per que triste que no van a estar en Lago Salado conmigo cuando regreso. Les amo un buen, y oro por ustedes cada día. Yo sé que el Señor esta bendiciendoles por su rectitud. Lo siento para mi spanglish, pero no puedo pensar muy bien en inglés. La verdad voy a sufrir cuando regreso a los estados unidos por que nadie va a entenderme. Me anima un buen que van a entrar la escuela otra vez. Gracias por su ejemplo y su consejo, siempr saco un buen de cosas de sus cartas, y no se sienta mal por no escribirme.

Thank you everyone for your letters, we didn’t go to print them off this morning so I am going to have to read them and respond next week. I don’t know if we will be able to use skype, I will find out this week and tell you next week. I really haven’t gotten your packages yet, but I think I will get them tomorrow in cambios.

This cycle I have been trying to figure out what type of missionary I am, and what type of missionary I can become. With Elder Hunt leaving me the zone for 5 days to look after before I get my new companion I have realized several things. I have realized that the Lord needs me to be a powerful and obedient and efficient missionary. I cannot lead the zone when I myself am not baptizing every week and meeting all the norms and goals of the mission. I need to be a powerful and excited leader that will inspire and animate the elders, the truth is that we have not had much success in Pachuca this cycle. I am ready for change in Pachuca, I am ready to do whatever it takes to become the powerful and obedient missionary that I know I can be and that the Lord wants and needs me to be. There is not enough time in the mission to not give 100 percent, to not consecrate myself to the work. We are saving souls and changing destinies. When I was a little kid I always wanted to be a knight of Arthur’s round table, or the hero that the whole world depended on to save them. I wanted to world to notice me- But I have now been called to serve a mission, to fulfill a quest the same as the heroes of old. I have been called to pass through dangerous places and called to do impossible things. I have been called to save the very souls of men and to fight against the most dangerous enemy ever known ever. I have been given special talents and abilities in order to fulfill my quest and I must learn to master them and myself if I am to be successful. I have been asked to do many difficult things in the name of glory, but not my glory, His glory. I know that one day I will find my prize, and it will not be here on this earth, it will not be what I expected, but something far greater. For Cameron and Kolby, I am Sora. That was a really nerdy video game reference but that’s ok.

Well, I love you all so much, it is still hard for me to realize that I am in Mexico, that 9 months has gone by and that I really am a missionary. I love you all and pray for you every day,


Elder Nelson

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

I'll Tell You Next Week...

Note from Peggy:
I decided to post Braden's latest letter just as he writes, no corrections, translations, etc. We think that by the time he comes home, he will be writing in 90% Spanish and still won't be able to type "because" correctly! He obviously is very engrossed in the work :)

Dear Family,

Well this week went by super fast, I don{t even know why becasue there was nothing special about it, no meetings, no problems. Elder Hunt goes home on Friday and so we are really busy today, sorry if this letter is a little shorter. The cambios are a week from Tuesday, so I am going to stay with some other missionaries for a couple days until I get my new companion. Elder Hunt is thinking about going to BSU, but he doesn{t know becasue he still has to take the SAT and ACT. Melissa ¡¡HAPPY BIRTHDAY!! You are going to be so grown up when I get home that I probably won´t even recognize you. I hope ou are enjoying YW, and I hope that you are developing into the type of yound woman that God would be pleased with. Kolby, feel free to grow as much as you want as long as you don´t get taller than me. To answer the question. we walk all the time, we are trying to concentrate on the three colonies that are the closest to the chapel so the only time we take a combi or bus is when we have to go the Aragon, to the other chapels of the other missionaries for interviews or district classes and when we go to wash our clothes on Mondays. MY ward mission leader is really good. He has a goal to find a family for us every month and has been mission leader for years and years. We call him Jefecito. I actually had to speak in church my first Sunday in Pachuca and didn´t know it until I got to Church. So I had to make someting up really fast about the obra misional, but that is easy becasue that is the only thing I do these days. We go to the house a member to wash our clothes on Mondays, they are really rich and have a washer and a dryer (the first dryer I have ever seen in Mexico) Other than that it depends. Today we had a zone activity where we rented out a soccer field. IIt was way cool, it was a field for fut 7 or futsal I think it is called. Like indoor soccer but it´s outside. As for my birthday...let me think about it this week and I will tell you in the week that is coming. I haven´t seen any packages...but in cabios we should recieve ouch so I will tell you if I get anything. My garments are size ....I don´t remember I will check and tell you next week. I love you all soo much. Sometimes when we are with family eating or teaching it reminds me of you guys and it makes me excited for 15 months, but at the same time sad because time is going so fast and I love the mission so much. Darci, I love you, thank you so much for your letter and I will respond next week when I have more time. I loved your quotes...and I don´t know what I am going to do when I have to speak english all the time when I get back. I can´t spell things very well anymore becuase I confuse english for spanish. The truth is that it si a lot easier to talk in spanish. Joe, there is an elder GArret in my zone, he is from West Point and went to Syracuse High...he sadi that he knows Paul, what a weird coincidence. We baptised a joven que se llama Rigo this week. We had a cool experience with him when we were teaching about baptism...remind me to tell it next week. I love you all so much, I pray for you all everyday. Please have family prayer and scripture study is soooo important for the family to function the way it should. We have to go do a ton of things for Elder Hunt, but I will write more last week. Thanks mom for the extra long letter, I loved it. I lvoe to hear about the things that are going on. I love you all.....until next week.


Elder Nelson

Monday, April 4, 2011

Power of Revelation

Hello Family,

Conference was awesome!! I loved all of it. We watched it in the stake center, and they set up a special room just for those who spoke English, namely Elder Hunt and myself. We watched all the sessions in English. I loved the gardener talk, but also Elder Bednar. Also, I loved President Monson´s talk in Sacerdocio, I feel like he chastises a little more in that session. The overall theme of the conference was marriage and family I think. It made me think about how great of a family I have, but also what kind of family I want to have someday. What am I gong to find in my wife’s purse? What kind of things will I want to find in my daughter’s purse...I still have a long time before that, but it still made me think. It was nice to recharge my batteries after 6 months. It made me so excited to go and share what we have with everyone else. Meridian is about 5 minutes from Elder Hunt´s house so he was pretty excited too. I feel such an appreciation that we have apostles and prophets leading us today. I felt the spirit and found out a lot of ways that I need to improve.

Yes, I can go to Walmart to buy clothes. I don´t really need anything right now, but I think when I hit my year mark I am going to buy new shirts because they are starting to get a little bit less white. My pants and socks are still holding strong, and you can´t buy garments in Walmart. Elder Hunt is an awesome missionary. He goes home in 2 weeks, but we are putting goals to help him not die. We are really too busy to get homesick or die. He has ADD and so t is really fun to be with him. He has a ton of energy and reminds me a lot of Jackson. He is helping me to not be so serious all the time, which I have a tendency to be. Sometimes we speak English, but most of the time no. I am teaching him English again because he has forgotten a lot of things, but the truth is that it is easier to talk in Spanish than in English because my brain works in Spanish now. We eat with members everyday, they feed us well here in Pachuca. Pachuca has more money than DF, a lot more money. We don´t really eat out much except when the members take us to restaurants, Elder Hunt can´t eat in the night because he can´t sleep afterwards so we don´t really eat out very much.

The SD card...well the truth is that I forgot. Also we don´t live very close to a post office. This Lunes that is coming I will transfer the photos onto my usb card and we will try to find the post office, but it is also the last lunes of Elder Hunt so we might be pretty busy. But I promise that before then end of April I will send it home. I also am still waiting for the package that has the SD card in it because I didn´t find the other SD card.
As for printing the emails...I still print them off and read them and respond later. We have less time here, but I make time to do that.

This last week we were super busy. Tuesday we went to the District classes, Wednesday we had divisions with Elder Mendez and Elder Francom, Thursday we went to the Temple for the consejo of zone leaders, Friday we had the consejo with our district leaders and Saturday and Sunday we had General Conference. Thursday in our consejo de líderes de zona Elder Hunt and I had to give a capacitation on receiving revelation through the Book of Mormon. It made me really nervous because we had to give to capacitation to Presidente, los Asistentes, and all the other zone leaders of the mission. We talked about Alma 32 and how there are three steps to revelation, creer, probar and aplicar. Personal revelation is something that we cannot do without, we will never reach the Celestial Kingdom without it. It impresses me how powerful the Book of Mormon is and how indispensable it is for our religion. Without the Book of Mormon and revelations we have nothing. I know that the Book of Mormon is true, and that it can answer every single question of doubt we have about anything in life. It is the most powerful book in existence and it has changed my life. I read my patriarchal blessing yesterday de echo, it has really helped out here in Mexico and with all the things that I have been able to do.

This week we baptized a lady named Mari. She had been assisting church for 3 years without missing a Sunday, but never wanted to get baptised. Last Sunday she went to the Bishop and said, I´m ready now. It was such an awesome service because there were a ton of memebrs there and Mari truly understood the significance of baptism. I never get tired of watching people’s faces when they come up out of the water and they feel that special feeling of purity. It makes me so excited that I can barely contain myself.

Cameron...congratulations for finally having your Eagle Court. As for the ACT, go to the bathroom before. The first time don´t study, the second time do study. Math is geometry and stuff like that, algebra, the basics. Science is more like reading, but about science stuff. You can’t really study for science, for math you can review geometry if you want. The truth is that it is really easy. If you are stressed about it you might not do as well, so relax. Don’t worry about it and say a prayer beforehand. Read the scriptures and pray before it and you will do just as well as God wants you to. I love you, thanks for your letter I loved it. We will have plenty of opportunity to hang out when I get back and we go to BYU, BYU is the best place on earth besides Misión Mexico Este.

I love you all, if you have any questions about what we are doing or teaching or whatever I want to know, because everything seems normal to me, I don’t know what you want to know. I will try to have a funny experience for you in the coming week.


Elder Nelson