Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Jesus en Pesebre (Away in a Manger)

Feliz Navidad from Mexico!

Dear Family,                                                                                                        

My little tree
The dinner was really good. There were funeral potatoes and ham and turkey and punch and Costco rolls. To top it all off there was a chocolate pudding pie. It was really good and I realize that we are really spoiled seeing as how last year for Christmas dinner we had mole rojo...not an appetizing Christmas dinner. One of President Hicken’s daughters came to visit for the holidays and it was so strange to hear little kids speaking in English.  Actually when we were taking the metro back home that night I was just thinking to myself  "I can´t believe I´m actually a missionary and that I am actually in Mexico. Life is good." It is still not quite real to me that I am a real missionary or that I am really in a different country so far away. It is all just like a fairy tale.

First of all make sure you don´t tell anyone about my new companion until Tuesday because no one is supposed to know. As for why he is going home before me...that´s just kind of normal for me now. I have only been with a missionary younger that me one time...when I trained. He goes home one change before me, but I will not be with him until he goes home I don´t think. I think I will probably be with him about 3 months or 2 changes and then I will go out into the field again. That is not that alarming because I knew when I got transferred in to Campestre that I would be here for a really long time so I am just loving every moment I get here. 
Missionary Christmas Decor

As for the business major...well I just don´t really know what I want to do anymore so I figure business is a good place to be until I decide...I just have been thinking about what I really want in life and I don´t know if I want to be a slave of a hospital or a pager or things like that. Here in Mexico you can really see the hardship it is on a family when a father is always working...that´s not what I want. 

Mom sorry for opening my package early,....but in the mission and really in all of Mexico Christmas is a day just like any other...so I figured opening it early was the same as opening it on Christmas. That´s how I justified it anyways. But it did make me happy. We did make the ginger bread house...I will send pictures next week. 

Actually one thing I forgot to tell you in the phone call was about what we did on Christmas. Here everyone celebrates the 24th and not really the 25. (That is because everyone goes to parties on the 24th and gets drunk and stays up until 6 or 7 in the morning so the 25 is really more of a sleeping day) On the 24th we went to a family’s home for dinner. But before dinner we went with them to the house of a poorer (less active) family in the ward. The family had bought rotissere (Who knows how to spell that anyways) chickens and salad and rolls and cookies and had brought along a bunch of toys for the kids. The poorer family had 3 kids and 2 sobrinos (nephews). They live in 2 room house with a roof of lamina and a wooden door that is broken in half.  They were peeling apples for Christmas dinner when we got there. We gave them the dinner and the toys and sang "Jesus en Pesebre" (the Christmas hymn that talks about a manger...I don´t remember what it is called in English). It was soo cool. By the end the father of the poor family was crying and they looked at the dinner in disbelief. The Spirit was so strong (the true spirit of Christmas) and the next day they came to church for the first time in a long time. I was so inspired by this family with whom we ate, I want to do that every year. Then we had to run home to get home on time so they wrapped up our dinner and we ate it at home. 

The Familia Martinez-Avila at the Temple 12.21.11
I sent a picture of the Martinez-Avila family. I don´t think I have ever been as happy as I was in the sealing room that day. It was an incredible joy looking around and seeing all my old friends form Teotihuacan and just thinking "this is how eternity will be". We will be there with all our old friends and we will just be so happy. I know that the family Martinez Avila will make it there and that I will build my celestial house right next to theirs. That is true happiness.

We had a combined Sacrament with the other ward in the building Casas Aleman and it was nice. Very stressful because none of our investigatores showed up...but our recent convert Antonio spoke and most of our other recent converts were there. The songs are all the same as the English hymnal...there are a few less and a few that are different...but basically all the same. The one thing that Mexicans do is they always have a piñata for Christmas. There were a lot of groups of neighbors that got together to break the piñata.
Well I love you all so much, I hope you are happy. Elder Bringhurst has to go pack so we have to go. 

Monday, December 19, 2011

Amen and Hallelujah!

Dear Family,

I did get my package when I went to the temple on Wednesday!! Thank you so much for everything you put in it. The hot chocolate is so good in the mornings when it is cold and the sweater is really nice. I also loved the BYU shirt, got to keep the pride alive. I´m convincing the missionaries one by one to go there after the mission. Also I set up the Christmas tree, I was actually going to buy a tree so I´m glad you thought of that. Melissa thank you for the muddy buddies I think of you everytime I eat them. I also got the mini PMG, thank you for that. The other package hasn´t gotten here yet but it probably will either this week or next week and I will let you know. 

Well, I hope this whole Skype thing works out. Have your questions ready because 45 minutes will go by quickly. If the internet doesn´t work very well I will still call you. I can´t believe that 7 months have passed by since mother´s day....crazy how that works. 

The temple was incredible. It has been a full year since I got to go last time and it was really interesting to enter. Outside the temple is on a busy street where loud buses and honking horns abound....walking in the horns and buses slowly fade into nothing and a wall of peace and spirit nails you. You start feeling good, happy, carefree...a smile leaps to your face and you don´t even know why you are smiling but you just feel good. I guess I had forgotten what it was like to be surrounded by the Spirit in the house of God. It was like I could think more clearly. It was so awesome to recharge and rebound to go back out and work like crazy again. Speaking of the temple, the familia Martinez Avila is getting sealed on Wednesday!!!!!! At 2pm I will be in the sealing room and I am sooo excited. I haven´t seen them in so long, but they are finally doing it!!!! I will send pictures next week.

We split the mission into the Pachuca Tulancingo (far away) half and the closer half. The far away half went to the temple and had their talent show Tuesday and we had ours Wednesday. After the temple sessions we ate in the cafeteria in the temple and we had a talent show, one skit or musical number from each zone. They were all pretty funny.

It is starting to get cold here. By cold I mean that it is cold enough to need a sweater in the morning to study, but by the time we leave to work the sun is shining and it actually gets kind of hot. Also at night it gets cold when the sun goes down. 

Elder Warr is one of the zone leaders of Pachuca Centro, so we see him every now and then in divisions and meetings and we talk to him every Tuesday, Thursday and Sunday for reports.  

Well this week we had a really good week. We found a bunch of families to teach. I always like teaching the family better than one or two individuals. Unfortunately some of them went out of town for the holidays, but they will be coming back this week or next week. We brought the Hernandez Muñoz family to church and they seem really excited. It is a mother and father (who just suffered a stroke or something like that) and their 2 daughters. They happen to live in the same building where the bishop lives. We will see how they progress this week. 

We had an interesting experience this week. Elder Bringhurst and I were contacting over by the chapel at night time. It was pretty dark when we contacted a man walking alone in the street. He answered us by telling us about his conversion to the Pare de Sufrir church and about it had saved him from drugs and how grateful he was to Christ for saving him. He started getting more and more excited and animated and started yelling. Then we tried to ask if his church had 12 apostles, he responded by telling us about how Christ drove out demons....then he put his hands around my head and yelled "En el Nombre de Jesus mando a los demonios que salten de este cuerpo!" He was trying to do an exorcism or something. Elder Bringhurst asked him if I had a demon....he said "No, pero para suguridad" we then started walking away dumbfounded when he yelled "Amen" to which I yelled "Amen Hallelujah!!" He then yelled hallelujah and walked away yelling something about Christ. Christians are so weird. 

I have been thinking a lot about consecration this week. What is it and how do we achieve it? I realized that right now is about the best chance we are going to have to consecrate ourselves to the Lord, our time is so short, but if we cannot consecrate ourselves now, there is no tomorrow. Now is the time to change, now is the time to improve because tomorrow will never come. If we can make the change now, dedicate ourselves 100 percent now, become Christlike now...then have we become good and faithful servants and only then will we enter into the rest of the Lord. Because the rest of the Lord is not tomorrow or after we die...it is now. It is the calm assurance that we are headed for the celestial kingdom, that if we were to die right now that we would be ready now. I guess I´ve got a lot of work to do. Well, my time is about up. I love you all and I will talk to you on Sunday.


Elder Nelson

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Children in Christ

Alberto, Jesus and Blanca Lydia
Dear Family,                                                                                                              

I attached the pictures of Alberto and Jesus who were baptized last week and of Guadalupe who was baptized this week. I also attached a picture of us and the Hno. German who took us to IHOP last week. First I will answer the questions and then I will talk about the baptisms. I will call home upon Christmas Day.  I don`t have any questions...but I`m sure you will have plenty so I will be ready to answer. Yes we will be going to the Temple this week. Half of the mission goes tomorrow and my half of the mission goes on Wednesday.  We will be going through in the 10 am session and then eating in the comedor del templo. Then afterwards we will have a talent show. I am soo excited to go to the temple. The Martinez Avila Family is going through the temple either this week or next week I am not quite sure yet...but the missionaries in Teotihuacan said they would let me know.

Hermano German took us to IHOP :)
MMmmm   :)
I actually did feel the earthquake. We were checking on a reference that some other missionaries had given us and I was leaning up against the front door of the house when all the sudden I felt like I got really dizzy because the world started moving around me. I thought that someone was shaking the front door at first...but it only lasted about 30 seconds. It kind of made me sea sick but it was a cool experience. I heard that 3 people died in Guerrero where the epicenter was but I think that it only scared people here in DF. I did not get to see the Christmas devotional and I don`t think we will be going to a Retirement home again since Christmas is on a Sunday. But I am pretty sure we will be holding a baptismal service on Christmas Day so I thought that was cool.

This week Guadalupe was baptized. She has been an incredible investigator with almost no challenges. She always tells us that when we first came to her house she felt a peace and a tranquility that helped her know right there in the first lesson that God wanted her to follow this path, she accepted her baptismal date in the first lesson and never looked back. I got to baptize her and it was just so exciting because of how excited she was to be baptized. Afterwards she was asked to bear her testimony about how she felt....and instead she offered a prayer. No one`s perfect I guess and we all have a ways to go before we arrive in eternity. But new converts are always just like children on Christmas...everything is new and they are just looking to see and touch and feel everything. As it says in the bible they are "children in Christ." But they are so innocent and pure and I just wish that all the members of the church were like that. 

Sunday was fast and testimony meeting and Gilda and Estèr stood up to give their testimonies. Ester told about how she had prayed and prayed to find a job because she just wanted to be able to pay a tithing. The Lord answered her prayer and she found a job this week. Gilda talked about the blessings of being a recent convert and how the Lord has blessed her in her life. It made me so proud to know that they are progressing and becoming faithful members of the church. 
Last week mom asked if we do any exercise. Well we have a half an hour in the morning where we should do exercise and since Elder Bringhurst isn`t really a running type I usually just do pushups and sit-ups and we have a little dumbbell to do curls and stuff. Actually yesterday in weekly planning Elder Bringhurst and I started a two week contest to see who could get the best 6 pack....obviously he didn`t know what he was getting himself into. We took before pictures and in 2 weeks we will take the after....we`ll see what happens. Well I am running out of time, I love you all so much and I hope you are having a merry Christmas because I sure will be. 


Elder Nelson

Monday, December 5, 2011

Bending Sticks

 Dear Family,                                                         

        This week just went by so fast, I get scared when I start feeling how fast the weeks are going by but I guess there is nothing else I can do except put my head down and work. This Sunday we had an interesting experience in the baptism of Alberto and Alejandro, the grandchildren of Blanca Lydia (who was baptized about 3 months ago). We started the week thinking that they weren’t going to be baptized because their mom has been pretty obstinate (even though Blanca Lydia wanted them to be baptized we couldn’t do it without the permission of their mom). Blanca and her daughter fight a lot because they are both very stubborn and quick tempered...But we talked to Blanca Lydia about being patient and about how you can´t snap a stick into place...or it will snap. You have to be patient and little by little bend it and by and by it will get to the shape you want without breaking. She took it to heart and had been talking to her daughter and apologizing for the fights they had had. And lo and behold the mom told her that they could be baptized!! (I think it might have had something to do with the fact that the kids went to their mom telling her they wanted to do it.) Then we get to the church on Sunday for Stake Conference (President Hicken spoke) to start filling up the font and there was no water. The maintenance people had messed up the power in the church so the lights were flickering throughout the whole conference and there wasn’t enough power for the pump to take the water from the cistern to the tank above the church...result is that we couldn’t fill the font. So we called up the next closest chapel and asked them to leave the font filled so that after the conference we could go (in the stake center right by the temple) use it after them. So after the conference we went to the Centro Para Visitantes to entertain the kids while we went and set up the baptism in the church. After waiting for an hour for the bishop and the primary to show up we finally got started and got the baptism done. I loved it when Blanca Lydia stood up to bear her testimony to her grandchildren and talked about how much she had prayed for this day to come.

         Also another cool thing happened with Guadalupe. She is an investigator that was just so prepared to hear the gospel, she is scheduled to be baptized this Sunday. We found her last Saturday at about 6 pm. We talked to her in the street and she led us to her home where we taught her the first time. The next day when we showed up to pick her up for church she was wearing a skirt and a nice blouse (most investigators go the first time in jeans or casual clothes). Then in Relief Society they talked about fasting on the first Sunday of the month...but Guadalupe misunderstood and when we went to visit her on the 1st day of the month she had decided to fast. The first time we left the Book of Mormon with her (in the first visit) she was going to read 3 Nefi 11...but somehow she opened up to the wrong chapter and read the sermon on the mount where it talks about being kind to our projimo. She has a sister that she had been fighting with...but reading the Book of Mormon she felt a peace and love that touched her heart and she went right then to fix things with her sister...then she read 3 Nefi 11. It´s awesome to see the Spirit guide the process of conversion, I love to know that we are not alone in the work but that we are actually a threesome of me and my companion and Divinity. 

         Also this week Elder De Hoyos of the 1st Quorom of the 70 came to tour the misión. He talked about the Atonement and the Book of Mormon. I made  a promise to read the Book of Mormon every single day for the rest of my life. I’ve been carrying a 3x5 in my triple with the days and material that I have studied. I remember that Grandpa always used to carry a 3x5 in his pocket to write important things on, I now know why. It is very useful to carry a 3x5 with a hymn to memorize so that whenever distracting thoughts come into my mind I can hum my favorite hymn. 

         Also I promised Dad that I would write about my impression on the Mexican people and culture. Well, it´s very hard to explain. I love them so much. Today a brother took us to an IHOP  (it was soo good). As far as the church goes…it is still very immature. They just don’t understand how the different organizations should and could work if all would just lend a hand…unfortunately people work so much that the Ward relies on the 5 or 6 people that actually understand the work. It is very much less organized, and a very much more selfish environment…yet at the same time unselfish. Some are willing to sacrifice anything to help another...others are willing to do anything to get ahead...but I need more time to explain more fully. Mom I will get the package next week when we go to the temple. I love you all so much and I pray that you are doing well.


Elder Nelson