Monday, August 29, 2011

Just Do It

Elders Nelson and Bringhurst with Beti and her kids at the Visitors Center and Mexico City Temple

Querida Familia,

This week was a little crazy. I had to take money off my card because my camera broke. We were taking pictures at a zone conference and someone knocked it off the table and broke the lens. Obviously it no longer works so I bought a new one today. Also, we had the cambios meeting Tuesday and Elder Bringhurst and I received two brand new missionaries. They are going to be with us until next Monday because they are waiting for their visas to go to Argentina. They are actually going to the Mendoza mission where Jackson is. My companion is Elder Cisneros from Tabasco. He grew up as an illegal in California so he speaks perfect English. It´s been a little rough because of a couple little obedience and personality issues but I´m trying to overcome it all. A missionary is a missionary after all.

It is still raining, and every single time it rains there is thunder and lightning. I love rain so much. The air is pretty bad. At first I got headaches everyday and a stuffed nose from the smog. It is usually a grayish cloud just kind of sitting over the city. When it rains it cleans out the smog, but then in the night time you can see the orangeish smog clouds roll over again. I am pretty used to the air know so it doesn´t bother me as much.

All the kids started school last week so that means people are a little busier but still teachable.
We had kind of a disappointing week last week. We had about 5 or 6 people scheduled for baptism for the 4th of September, but one family had a huge family argument/ problem and didn´t make it to church. The other 2 missed their appointment Saturday night and didn´t show up to church either. We have no idea where they are. We were expecting to have between 13 and 15 show up but instead we only had 4. But of course there is always a silver lining. We found a man named Nestor this week. We contacted them on the street and they said we could pass by. We went and they weren´t there...which isn´t all that uncommon. Then the next day we found them on the street again and they said we could pass by again. Then they weren´t there again. Their little girl said they had gone to buy bread so we went to the bread store to look for them and they weren´t there, so we went back to their house and finally found them!! They let us in and we began to teach. We taught families can be together forever and the gospel of Jesucristo. His wife said the closing prayer and started to cry because the spirit was so strong. He has had some problems with drugs and alcohol (but we´re in Mexico...who hasn´t?) but really wants to help his kids have a better life. He just wants to know more and more. Sunday in Sunday School he was using the triple of my companion and just started reading and reading and read like three chapters. When he gave it back Elder Cisneros le dijo, "Puede seguir ojeándole si quiere." (I told him, “You can continue to Browne or read if you want”.) He was excited and started reading the introduction of the Book of Mormon. After church he said, "I am going to go home and ask if this is true again, then I am going to go to the Penitentiary and preach to my friend about this." Some people are just so ready for the gospel. They feel the Spirit enter their heart and they remember what they had learned in the pre earth life and they just get so excited.

Also today we went to Waldos (the dollar store in Mexico) and bought root beer!!! Elder Bringhurst and I are going to make root beer floats. GO AMERICA.

As for why I have been sent to this mission at this time in these is a hard question. I really truly believe that God has sent me to help other missionaries. I am here to help transform the mission from where it was to where it can be. I am not the best missionary in the mission, I am not the most motivating nor the highest baptizing, but for some reason God has chosen to put me in an assignment to influence a lot of people. I´m not quite sure how to do that yet, and I´m sure there are other reasons. I´m sure I was sent here because God knew I would love the culture and the people. I would love tacos and spicy things. Or because I really do love the Mexican people. I love their funny sayings and habits. I guess I’m still not quite sure, but I´m working on it.

I love Jesus Christ. I just finished the book of Lucas and you cannot help but wonder how He did it all. But I guess the how is not that important, it is the why. And the why is love. Everything in the gospel leads back to love. He did it so that we would not have to suffer as He did. He did it because He loved His Father. I still find it strange to say I´m a missionary, a representative of Jesus Christ. I imagine Him walking the streets and what He would do and say. I have so far to go to measure up, but I will do it because I love Him. I am coming to know Him, and through that relationship my love is growing. He walked alone, He walked the path of a perfect leader. I will follow Him with all my heart might mind and strength...because I love Him.

I love you all so much, I hope you are living up to the expectations of Him. If you haven´t read your scriptures today, do it. If you haven´t prayed with real intent today, do it. Just do it. If you are not happy today, just do it. Do it for Him. Give everything for Him. I love you all so much and pray for you everyday.


Elder Nelson

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Never Will

Note from Peggy: This week's letter from Braden was obviously written in a very big hurry. We usually get his mail about 3:30 or 4:00. We did not get this one until after 6 p.m. our time. I wasn't too concerned. If we don't get a letter but get a call, then we will worry. :)

Hey Family,

Sorry I am emailing so late. We went and picked up new 14 Mexican missionaries at 6 in the morning and took them to President´s house. After we dropped them off again in the temple in temporary assignments we went to the airport and picked up 10 new American missionaries. We just barely got to President´s house and he gave us special permission to write after 6 pm, so don´t worry we are being obedient. Sorry to scare you mom, but I have never missed a week and never will.

This week Beti and her son got baptized. This time I really will send you the picture of them in front of the temple. Beti gave her testimony after her baptism. It was soo awesome. She said that from the day we had knocked her door her life had begun to change. She now knows where she is going in life, and more importantly where she is going with her family. She said she knew it was true and the spirit was just soo strong. I love missionary work soo much, it is just such a joy to watch God change the lives of people right in front of our eyes. She was scared that her boyfriend would reject her if she got married (I think he meant baptized) and he really liked going to parties and drinking on Fridays, but she gave it all up for the Gospel and her family. Satan cannot win against the testimony of the Holy Ghost.

I don´t have much time, but I love you guys so much. I am happy, I am working hard, I am being obedient. I will write more last (did he meant next?) week. I am completely safe. There is a Volcano close by called Popo, I guess you could climb that. I will write more about investigators next week. I have been eating really well, we got ice cream for desert one day and mashed potatoes another so we are loving life. We bring people to the CV about once a month or so. Usually we bring all the recent converts and the ones that are going to be baptized the next week. Love you all so much. (I got the PMG and the package. I thank you so much)

Love Elder Nelson

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

America Day

Hello Family,

This week was a little crazy. We went Tuesday night to President´s house so that we could leave early in the morning Wednesday for a Leadership Training (Zone Conference) in Pachuca. We did divisions with the Zone Leaders in Pachuca Wednesday afternoon and Thursday after the Zone Conference in Tecamac we finally got back home to work in our area. This week will be about the same. Zone Tulancingo on Tuesday, Ecatepec on Wednesday and Aragón/Moctezúma/Vergel on Thursday. But I love it so much. We get to see so many awesome people and do so many cool things.

Zone Conference

Zone Conference

Today for P Day Elder Bringhurst and I rounded up some other Elders and played BASKETBALL!!! I hadn´t played anything but soccer for a long time so it was way fun. My jump shot stinks. We also went to McDonalds, and in the morning we listened to the MoTab´s "Spirit of America" CD while we were getting ready so it was like America day. Although I think we are going to eat beans for dinner because President always has beans for that will kind of put a damper on America Day.

I put a couple pictures of the Zone Conferences on there, also of the two people that got baptized this week. One day we were walking past a huge semi truck that said "Carne de Puerco" on the side of it. Elder Bringhurst said "I bet there are a bunch of dead pigs hanging in the back of that truck." He was right.

Carne de Puerco

Ulises and the High Water
I think that you will enjoy the baptismal overall I am wearing in the picture of Ulises. It seems the floods were coming because they were some high waters. Ulises is the son of Juan and Aracely that got baptized about 3 or 4 weeks ago. He had a bad fall when he was a kid and his maturity is about 13 years old, but he is really 27. He waited a couple weeks to make sure he was really ready, but was really excited about it when he decided to do it. It was kind of a funny baptism because when I started putting him under water...he let go of his nose and water rushed in...he started to drown and I just lifted him up really quickly. He kind of coughed and choked his way out of the pila, but he got all the way under so we didn´t have to do it again. Other than that it was a really good service, the spirit is so strong in baptismal services.

The other person that got baptized this week is Paulina. She is 12 so she makes me think of Melissa a lot. Her dad was baptized in April, but no one else in his family did it. They were 7th Day Adventists...and he wasn´t really convinced about going to Church on Sundays, but he said "I knew the Book of Mormon was true, and that was enough for me." His wife wouldn´t let Paulina or her sister Ximena get baptized and there was a lot of family strife. But after a couple months things calmed down and Paulina asked if she could be baptized. Her dad got to do it and it was so awesome to see how excited he was to baptize his daughter. I wonder if that´s how it is for God. Watching us go through life and just so excited when the things that need to take place for us to return to Him take place.

The shirts we were wearing in the picture were made for the zone. They made them for the Zone Activity. All the names of all the people in the Zone are on the back. As for how long I will have this assignment and be with Elder Bringhurst. We are thinking that we will be together until at least November, then one of us will be replaced and the other one will be here for another 3 months. So I will be in this area with this assignment between 6 and 9 months. I will be with Elder Bringhurst probably 6 months which I am excited about because he is the first companion I have had for more than 1 cycle of cambios.

We usually don´t have too many missionaries that want to go home. This one went home because it was too hard. He was from a really hard home situation where his family was really really poor. For me at least the first 6-8 weeks in the field were really hard. There was really only one time when I thought about going home...but I remembered the covenants I had made in the Temple, and the commitment I had made to the Lord and I stayed. But there are some who come without a testimony and without much preparation, when that happens there is a much bigger temptation to call it quits.

Every Sunday we go to pickup investigators with the Ward Mission Leader. We only pick up the investigators who are going to go for the first time because it is a weird experience going to a new place without knowing anyone-after that they have to go one their own. But sometimes they aren´t ready right when we get there to pick them up and we are late getting back to the chapel. They don´t pass the sacrament to the people who are in the hallways waiting to go sometimes we just miss out.

This week I have been thinking about what it means to work hard, or to magnify your calling. I think to work hard you simply have to do what you are supposed to do in the way the Lord has prescribed. The other thing is that you must do it out of love for the Lord, and a love for doing what he prescribes. That´s it, it´s that simple. You just have to do what you are supposed to do. Follow PMG, be obedient, develop Christ like attributes. Find, teach, baptize. Sounds easy...but it´s not. Well, I love you all so much. I saw the picture of Melissa skiing and put it on my camera because I was so proud of her. That is awesome. Things must have changed so much while I have been gone, but it seems like I left home yesterday.

I also attached a picture of Beti and her kids when we went to the Visitors Center yesterday. She is going to be baptized this week. (From Peggy: For some reason we didn't get this picture :( Love ya´ll.


Elder Nelson

Monday, August 8, 2011


Querida Familia,

Well I sent a bunch of pictures this week. The baptismal one is of Cristián. He is about 20 years old and is really funny. We contacted his mom and sister and they said "well we´re not interested but I think Cristián would be." We went the next day and found out that he had talked with missionaries outside his school one time and got really interested, but then didn´t hear anything. So he just kind of forgot about it, until we came and he got really excited. He laughs about everything. When we were giving the first vision...he just started cracking up. He said that it reminded him of a cartoon and made him laugh. But he has read the Book of Mormon and prayed about it. He knows that it is true and that Joseph Smith was a true prophet. Just a super solid convert. I got to baptize him and when we were getting ready to go in the font I was explaining that he would need to bend his knees and cover his nose. He just started laughing and asked if he could laugh during the ordinance, I obviously told him no. So he said, "Ok hold on just a second" and left to the bathroom. He came back in a minute and just said...I just had a lot of laugh and had to contain myself. His sister will probably be baptized within a couple weeks, we are working with her but she hasn´t gone to the church very much.

This week we have Ulises (the son of Juan and Aracely that got baptized about 3 weeks ago) and a single mom and her child. Beti and Yazair. They were kind of a funny story. There was a new missionary that decided he wanted to go home. After all we could do he still wanted to go home, so his last night we was with us. He was a really weird guy, and he didn´t want to walk as fast as we walk so we started to knock doors in a housing complex called "The Miracle." We knocked her door and she opened it...she looked like she was 16 so we started to say "don´t worry about it we will talk to you next time," but I asked her "¿how old are you?" She said 25, and her kids and maid were there so she invited us in. The lesson was terrible, the weird elder just kept saying weird things and the maid said she was a member and started spouting off strange facts about the second coming and Moroni. I didn´t feel the Spirit at all so we just left a pamphlet and set up a return appointment to see if she was really elect. When we came back she had read the pamphlet, the maid and the weird elder were no longer there and she said that she was looking for a church to help her with her small children. She was looking for something to help them come to God.

I put a picture on there of the Zone Conference we did in Ciudad Azteca, and of the Zone activity we did today. We went and played soccer and kickball on a field that had real grass and afterwards they hired a taquero to come and make tacos. I got sun burnt really bad, it´s awesome. I don´t really get sun burnt anymore and it reminded me of when we used to go out of the boat all day and come back looking like lobsters. Also I took some pictures of the streets right around our house to kind of give you an idea of what things look like here. It´s the best area in the mission (in my opinion) and even though it is really small I love it a lot. I hear stories all the time of missionaries being robbed and crazy guys with guns, or seeing dead people in the street. I think you are praying too hard Mom, because I never get to see anything cool like that. I am so blessed, I love my companion and my area. I am learning so much from him and we are working really hard. This is how the mission should be. At the end of this month he will complete 16 months, so we will be together for a long time I think and I am so glad that I am with someone that I get a long with so well. He wants to be obedient, he wants to keep the house clean (more or less) and we are being as obedient as we can and working as hard as we know how.

It is so important to take the sacraments. I haven´t taken it the past couple weeks because we were passing for investigators. But this week I did and there is a huge difference in how much we have the Spirit with us. The Spirit is everything in this work...everything.
We were talking a lot yesterday as we were waiting to receive the reports from the Zone leaders about the different leaders we have had and how they motivated us. There were some who were just super excited all the time, there were other with whom we felt the spirit. Some motivated me because they selfishly wanted their zone or district to do well, others motivated me because of a sincere desire to see ME grow and learn and become who the Lord wants me to become. We can´t be boring as leaders, it doesn´t work...neither can we be overly animated...yet at the same time we have to focus on our personal desires to help the mission. Is it so that WE are remembered as successful, or is it because we truly love those whom we serve and have a sincere desire to see them become great missionaries. That Christlike love is leadership. Otherwise we are simply motivating. Leadership implies that we GO somewhere, if not we would not be leading them. I hope I am motivated by love. I hope I can be that Christlike leader the Lord and the mission need me to be. I want to be that leader. I know I have a long ways to go, but that is my vision, my goal.

I love the Lord. I love Him with all my heart. He is my Savior and Redeemer. Savior from my faults and weaknesses and redeemer of my soul. I am so grateful to be here in the mission, there is no way I would learn what I have learned or grow as I have grown anywhere else. I am a defender of truth, helping to gather Israel in preparation for the Second Coming. He will come again. He will come in glory and power, and I want to be there to see it. We still have a lot of work to do, we still have a lot of things to learn. But we will do it. There is no one who can stop the one.

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Dear Family,

I loved hearing that about Casey, he will make an awesome trainer and District leader. I am so grateful to have known such awesome guys. Not that you have to train and be a district leader to be awesome. It really does not matter where you serve or what assignment you have, or even how many baptisms you have. What matters is that you thrust in your sickle with all your heart might mind and strength. The interesting thing is that DL ZL trainer and assistant are all assignments...not callings. Our calling is to be missionaries, representatives of our Savior Jesus Christ. Here in Mexico it is a really big deal what assignment you had on your mission. All he RM´s say "o yeah I was a zone leader." Like it means they were a better missionary. I don´t like telling people that I am an assistant, because it doesn´t matter. What I do know is that Casey is giving everything he has to his mission, and it is changing him. That is the point of the mission, and that is what makes me soo happy.

This week went well for us and bad for the mission. We baptized Juana and Jose Luis. The last visit with Jose Luis before his baptism we were teaching about the temple to elevate their vision. Jose Luis started bearing his testimony about the Book of Mormon, about how there should be a copy of this book in every home and if so it would change the world. I loved it so much. It is so true that the Book of Mormon is the most powerful converting tool that we have. Juana wasn´t so sure she was ready to be baptized on Monday...but we visited her every day and had her read a chapter from the Book of Mormon everyday, and after a week she was just so excited to be baptized!! It is so awesome!!

As for Efra, we are still working of the drinking problem and the sleeping past church problem. We have basically dropped him until he is ready to really take the initiative to stop drinking. It´s not that he is an alcoholic, but he just likes it and doesn´t want to stop. Hector and Reyna had a family emergency this week and couldn´t go to church. We still need to find them to find out what is going on, but we will reschedule their baptism for the 14th. That is just kind of how the obra misional works...we find a lot of people...about a third go to church...and about 3/4th of those that go to church get baptized. The answer is just keep finding a ton of people every week...just keep teaching like crazy and using the Book of Mormon every time...and at the end of the week there should always be someone ready to make the baptismal covenant with their Heavenly Father. Everything is a process, God always works though processes.

Juana and Jose Luis
The third American on the baptismal picture is Kyle. He is the grandson of President Hicken and stayed with us for a couple days to work. He doesn´t speak any Spanish at all....which makes life a little difficult here in Mexico. We had him memorize sentences so that he could testify. He told us that we have funny accents in English. Like almost Mexican, but not quite...kind of like a mix between a Southern accent and a Mexican accent. I had no idea, I guess you guys will get to make fun of me a lot when I get home and have to speak English all day. I tried to speak in English to Kyle...but I would always have to correct myself from slipping into Spanish.

Today I was studying the 10 commandments. I was studying the first one. Thou shalt have no other Gods before me. It talks about graven images...there are a lot of those here. But I was trying to figure out exactly what a graven image was. In Leviticus 26:1 it says that they are simply any object made with the end of worshipping it. Then the commandment goes off to talk about how God is a jealous God...which doesn´t make much sense since jealousy is bad and God is perfect. In the footnotes it says that the jealousy part comes from a Greek word that means sentimental, [or that want to say] that God has His feelings hurt when we worship other gods. That struck me...that God loves us so much, and has given us so much that His feelings are hurt when we reject Him. He loves us so much. Satan tries so hard to give us other gods so that through us he can hurt God. So, as John says...if we really love Him we will keep His commandments.

One last cool experience. I went on divisions with a young district leader this week who was really struggling. I wanted to have an awesomne day and teach a bunch of lessons and find a couple families...but we worked really hard all day...really really hard and had one lesson. That´s bad because we usually teach 6 or 7. I felt really dejected and we were walking back to the apartment when a woman contacted us at 8:57. (From Peggy: Missionaries are supposed to be in their apartments by 9:00) She said that she was going to be baptized in another city...but they had to move before they could be married and baptized. She asked us to come teach her family the next day. Just another miracle...never lose faith in the Lord. Love you all soo much, I think and pray for you.


Elder Nelson

Melissa thank you so much for the muddy buddies, they are soo good. Elder Bringhurst thinks so too. Mom, that popcorn was soo good. We buy popcorn from the corner store but it´s just not the same.