Monday, July 16, 2012

Short and (Bitter)Sweet

Well....this is it I guess. I still don`t really feel like I am actually going home even though my bags are all packed and weighed and all that is left out are my boots my rain jacket and my triple and my backpack. I don`t really know what to write because I suppose we will be talking a lot on Saturday. We had a change of plans and we are actually going to the temple on Wednesday instead of Friday and I have to go to the temple all by myself because my companion can`t come and President didn`t want me to pay for a joven to come with that should be pretty weird. I will still be attending the sealing of the Carrapia Hernandez family and I am very excited about that.

I guess I just want to apologize before hand because I am going to be a very strange person when I come home. I am already starting to feel kind of frantic because I really just want to stay here and work and find, teach and baptize. But I will do my best and just like you ask that I be patient with y`all I will probably need to same. Well....I have a couple of other things that I need to do with this hour and so I love you all and I will see you on Saturday.


Elder Nelson

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Last Full Week

Dear Family,                                                                                                                                                                                          

I really can`t believe that it is Monday again. You just get so caught up in the week that you don`t notice the time passing and then all the sudden it is Monday again and here we are in the internet café writing the family again. Well I am gonna answer the questions first. The new offices are on the temple square. They built them in the apartments where the sister missionaries working in the centro para visitantes used to live...but there is no CV anymore so they built them there. The sign is on the bottom of the staircase because everything from the base level up to the 5th floor is the office. (The area doctor and the office couple and the secretaries live in the offices). The inside of the offices looks exactly the same as the picture of the Ostler family in visiting Elder Swenson. Originally (when I was an assistant) the offices were in Tecamachalco because that is where the Area Mexico offices are and that was where the church had space for us. But the offices now are right outside the Aragòn stake center and so it will be a lot easier for mail and everything.

This week we had a lot of good things and a lot of bad things happen. We had an assistance of 17 from Santa Ana Hueytlalpan this week in Sacrament meeting so things are looking really good there. We had three Melchizedek Priesthood eligible men attend (we need 7 to make a branch) and one young man was ordained a deacon. The bad part is that all of our investigators from Tulancingo didn`t go to church...which is funny because we only work 1 day a week in Santa Ana and the other 6 in Tulancingo. Go figure.

Also one thing that has been bugging me a little bit is that I sent a package home about 3 months takes a long time for packages from Mexico to get to America so it isn`t lost...but could you pray that it get there please? It didn`t have that much in it just the jeans and shoes and stuff that I didn`t want to throw away but that didn`t fit in my suit cases. Thanks.

Well the 4th of July I was in divisions with another American, Elder Quist, but we forgot that it was the 4th...such great Americans we are. It is such a blessing to live in the U.S. and have the order and freedoms that we have there.

Good for Allison, I think she will be a good missionary. Anyone is if they can learn to deny themselves and follow Christ. Tell her I said good luck and to tell her that the mission is a lot like a cross country race.

As for traveling on a matter of fact we are the only mission in all of Mexico to do things the way we do them. Most missions send missionaries home on Monday or Tuesday but since we are the best mission in the whole world we have to do things our way.

GOOD NEWS!!!! I just heard that the Carrapia Hernandez family (the first family that I baptized in Campestre Aragòn) is getting sealed!!! They are going to be sealed on the Friday 20th at 12 noon. The good news is that since the missionary going home session doesn`t start until 2 pm I get to go!! That is the best way to finish a mission and I am soo excited for them. I won`t be traveling to D.F. until the 20th I think but I haven`t really thought about it that much.

It feels a little surreal that this is my last full week of work. I still feel I still have a whole year left in the mission. I have been praying every night that I not realize how close it is and that I can keep my focus so that is an answer to a prayer. Every time I think about how this is my last full week it gives me an energy boost because I have to talk to everyone in all of Tulancingo in 2 weeks.

This letter is a little short because I really just want to go work. I know that the Lord is preparing souls for us to save in this moment and that thought doesn`t let me rest or slow down. When I peer into the face of my Savior Jesus Christ on that great day of judgment I want Him to be smiling. I am anxious to please Him and I know what He expects of me. I aim to please and serve Him...and I figure that everyone else I am trying to please will be happy with me if I can achieve to make Him happy. Thanks for your prayers....please pray that we can find solid investigators and families to leave for Elder Reynoso.


Elder Nelson 

Monday, July 2, 2012

A Burning Witness

Dear Family,                                                                                                                                                                                       July 2, 2012

Sorry for making you hack into my account every week but I figure I might as well send pictures anyways since you can hack in. I sent the picture of me in front of the sign on the new offices. I don`t know exactly what you`re looking for or if you want one of me IN the offices but I still have one more shot to get the pictures so let me know.

This past week was a hard but rewarding week. On Thursday we had my last zone leader council in Aragòn. This was number  17 for me and I have been going to these for so long that I don`t know what I am going to do next month when I`m not invited. At the end of each zone leader council the zone leaders that are going home before the next council have to stand up and bear their testimonies…so this time it was my turn. I have seen so many great missionaries stand and bear powerful witnesses of revealed truth so I was a little nervous. I haven`t been nervous in a really long time and so it was kind of strange to feel that way again. As I stood up the precise words that I wanted came out and I felt the spirit so strongly witnessing to me that the Lord had made all my hopes and dreams come true. Ever since day one my main goal has been to become the missionary that God would have me be and that I would accomplish all that the Lord had prepared for me in the mission. I felt a burning witness that I had become what God had wanted me to become...I obviously have much more to go and I still have 3 weeks left to improve and repent. I am so grateful for a loving God who knows my name, who knows my desires and my interests, who knows my weaknesses and knows my strengths. I will forever be grateful for a God who loves me enough to chasten me and mold me into what He would have me be. I feel like I know and understand Christ better when He said "I came to do the will of Him who sent me."

President Hicken is coming to Tulancingo next Wednesday (the 11th) for interviews and so he will deliver the money in my interview. That is a cool story how everything worked out and I am glad that you got to talk to President Hicken. He is a great man and I love him so much. He has taught me a lot and I am grateful for that. It`s funny because he reminds me a lot of Grandpa. They both did the same thing, they were both successful they both get mad rather quickly if things are not perfect and they are both really wise. Elder Pukahi was a secretary when I was assistant and he now is training a new missionary in the area right next to the offices so I think they do divisions sometimes so that he can help in the offices with the visas. With the delivery of the money on the 11th that will give me one more P-Day afterwards to be able to get a couple of the way what color of hammock do Darci and Joe want? I don`t know if I can get exactly the color they want but I can at least try. I still don`t know where to get one...but I know that God answers prayers and I`m sure that I know somebody that knows where to get one. That is one thing the mission has taught me...if you don`t know where to get it--get to know someone that does. Nothing is truly impossible with a little creativity and improvisation.

I think that the analogy of being a tool in the hands of the Lord is great...but it goes a little deeper than that. In the process of sculpting and changing us God puts us in positions to be able to have influence over certain people. If we don`t listen to the Lord or follow His promptings then we will not have the proper influence or effect necessary to achieve the Lord`s purposes when we are called upon. I am glad that the Spirit (touches people) because while I can say words...the Spirit is the only one that can give feeling and change hearts.

Also so that you know the temple will be open until the end of July so I will be going to the temple on the 20th!! I am so excited for the temple I love it so much and I haven`t gone since December.

Well we have to go pay the rent and print some pictures so that we can start working at 6. I love you all and I am praying for you. Thank you for your prayers and letters and thoughts. My letter from my family is always one of the highlights of my week. Until next week,

Elder Nelson

Sunday, July 1, 2012

Santa Ana Hueytalpan

Dear Family,                                                                                                                         

Every week I think to myself that I just barely wrote this letter and that there is not much to write...then I start thinking about all the things that happen in a week and I realize that there really is a lot to write. 
This week we started a project with the ward in a little pueblo of about 7,000 called Santa Ana Hueytlalpan. There are several members there (inactives) about 40 minutes away from the church building in Tulancingo. There used to be a good amount of priesthood but they all are working in the U.S. This is the next closest pueblo to Tulancingo and there are a ton of little towns out there waiting for the gospel. We are going once a week with the priesthood from our ward to activate and baptize and hopefully create a branch. Tulancigo is a small town...but this place is really small. Most of the people work in the fields for the food that they eat and most of the town doesn`t have paved roads. There are cows and horses and chickens all over the place and it is awesome!! I would say that about 90 percent of the people have never heard of the church before so there is a twofold mission of preaching the gospel and establishing good public relations. The four missionaries went on Friday to check it out and see if there was potential. Everyone told us that we should be careful because the pueblo was a little dangerous seeing as how there is quite a bit of witchcraft in Santa Ana and that after dark every one carries pistol and shoots first and asks questions later. We left before it got dark but I am so excited to see the work finally roll forth in Insurgentes. Our ward (look at it on ldsmaps) is huge...about 7 hours wide and contains thousands of little pueblos and cities that need the gospel. We are growing from the center out and starting the work of preaching the gospel to all nations and tongues. The people in Santa Ana don`t all speak Spanish...there is a dialect callled Otomi. Usually the older generation doesn`t speak Spanish very well but all the adults and young people do. I don`t really plan on learning the dialect but I am picking up a phrase here or there. As we were visiting the less active on Friday several started to cry. They had been so long without a visit and felt a little abandoned. We had two or three families come again on Sunday from Santa Ana so I am really excited to see that grow.

We had my last Zone Conference on Wednesday so it was my last time seeing a couple of my friends here in the mission. Elder Reynoso and I were in charge of taking care of the food for the conference. It was a multi zone conference with a total of about 45 missionaries. We had a sister in the ward make guajolotes (the famous original thing from Tulancingo). It is a sandwich made with a large roll with enchiladas and beans and meat in it. They are pretty good and they are pretty cheap too. Normally it costs about 15 pesos so we fed them all for about 3 bucks a head.

I assume that I will go to the temple again but we get the calendar for July on Thursday in the Zone Leaders Council. The temple closes in July but I`m not sure which day. I really want to go to the temple again before I go. I love it in Spanish and I love the Mexico City Temple.
We are working hard and seeing miracles, time in the service of the Almighty just flies and I just wish it would never end. I`m anxious for in a couple months when Cameron has the opportunity to serve because you just can`t describe have to experience it. Thank you for the USB drive...I got it this week and I printed the pictures.

One last problem.....debit cards expire and mine has swiped it`s last swipe. I had a little money from my personal card in cash in my suit cases just in case and I used it last week at Teotihuacan...but then afterwards I went to replenish it...and the card expired in May. I haven`t been able to get a hammock yet because this part of Mexico doesn`t really use them that much and I haven`t found a place that sells them...but de todos modos (anyway) if I`m going to buy one for Darci and Joe I need a new debit card...kinda quickly. Just some food for thought. Thanks for everything you do for me. Thank you for your prayers.


Elder Nelson

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Short and Sweet

Dear Family,                                                                                                                                                      

My companion´s real name is Elder ReidReynoso...but the Mexicans have a hard time with that and so he just shortens in to Reynoso. So sometimes I just call him Elder Reynoso because that is what all the Mexicans call him anyways.

To explain the new offices. They moved the offices from Tecamachalco to Aragòn right next to the temple so that they would be a lot closer to the mission. If you sent something to the old offices it is fine because they will just forward it to the new offices I think so don`t worry about it.

My clothes are not that bad. My shirts are sort of yellowish and some of my ties have stains on them but really everything is holding up just fine. My shoes don`t do too well with the crazy rain we`ve been having but they`ll make it unless you want me to buy a new pair before I come? As for my suit, I wear it everytime I go to church and whenever we have a meeting with I have worn it a lot. But I have really only worn my black one and have hardly used my blue one plus I bought a new one in Tepito a while ago because it was really cheap so I will be fine for clothes. On the black suit it is getting sun stained and the bottoms of the pants are frayed but it is still very useable. Plus I still have two brand new short sleeve shirts that you sent me that I haven`t even opened yet. That is a question I have for you though, do you want we to bring all my clothes when I come or do you want me to dump most of it? I was planning on dumping most of it but I guess if you want me to keep it I could.

Today Elder Reynoso and I went to Teotihuacan for the last time. I picked up a couple of things so don`t worry about souvenirs. It was really fun to go back, we are not allowed to visit converts from past areas or members or anything so I couldn`t check up on anyone but it was fun to walk the streets and remember the beginning of my mission. Well, this email might be a little short but I have something else I need to do and then if I have time I will write a little more.


Elder Nelson

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

And the Rains came down...

Oh, Rats!
Dear Family,                                                                                                                                     

Well I got the letters and pictures from last week so thanks for that. I knew that Mom never missed a week and that`s what made it kind of weird for me. But don`t worry I had plenty of other things to do this week to keep me busy. I am officially going to finish my mission in Tulancingo. They announced changes today in the morning and I am also going to stay with Elder ReidReynoso until the end.  I am happy and also sad.  I loved DF so much and I hoped to go back for my last 6 weeks but I love my companion so it he will be a good last companion.

I saw the pictures of Cameron`s graduation and I just kind of sat there in shock for a second or two. That is just so strange. Also Elder Jordan went home on Friday...I also thought that that was a little weird.

The rains that Dad was talking about finally hit this rained ALOT. I sent some pictures. The rat was just rolling down the street struggling for air because the streets had turned into raging rivers. The sewers erupted and became artistic fountains of filth and on top of that it hailed. It started hailing first and Elder Reynoso and I got caught in the middle of the street so we just took off running looking for cover. There were some crazy rapids we had to cross to get back to the house to change socks and with every step the water splashed half way up my calf. It was awesome. I love stuff like that. Then later this week I was in Xicotepec on divisions and it rained there too. The difference is that this time the rain was warm and we were in the middle of the jungle so it was definitely much more epic.

In Xico we had kind of an interesting experience. Early in the day, like about 12pm there was a little girl playing outside in the yard (all dirt and garbage) who ran up to hill to talk to her Dad. Her Dad came out to see what or who we were and his face was painted completely white. He was a clown!! He actually invited us in. We had to work really hard not to laugh as we walked in the house just because we were going to teach a clown. We walked into the one room house full of old food and garbage and dust and began to teach. He actually truly had a need for the gospel and wanted to get closer to God. He accepted to go to church and to be baptized....I guess even clowns need the gospel.

We also contacted another man about 1 who couldn`t let us in right then so we set up an appointment to come back later that evening. The problem is that the streets don`t have signs and the houses don`t have numbers and the colonies are kind of weirdly we went up the hill and down the hill and across a river and kept looking for him. Finally we found the place where he lived...and he didn`t live there. So, thinking that God might have something else in store for us there we began to search around and knock some doors. I spotted a house on the hill and I felt like we should knock there so we went. The house was made out of tarps and sticks and had cardboard for insulation. The rain was pouring through the roof of tarps and into the house...and they let us in. They expressed a great need for getting closer to God and finding the truth and we got really excited because it was a large family. Then they told us that they go to Misa (mass) every week at 5 in the morning and weren`t interested in learning more about our church. We tried to explain but they just couldn`t accept. I feel like God put us there to give them the chance....but everyone has their agency and unfortunately they used their agency incorrectly. So disappointing...but that is life...that is eternity.

The Elders quorum is going to start reading classes so Eusevio can learn how to read better so we are excited about that.

For the testimony meeting we had them all gathered at the base of the waterfall and there is a rock (the rock where we took the group picture) that kinda looks like pride rock. We sat them all down in a circle and explained the significance of the activity and talked about obedience and diligence and then we each bore our testimonies about the mission and told them that the time was theirs to share what they would like to share (in 1-2 minutes because we didn`t want to be there all day). So one by one they got up and bore their testimonies about the work we do and the life style we lead. It was really cool to hear the testimonies of those who are truly consecrated. There is a true power in delivering yourself over to the Lord. Afterwards we gave them a little time to reflect and take pictures and things like that and then we took them down to eat in the restaurant of a sister in Huauchinango. We ate huaraches (thick foot long tortillas with meat and lettuce and salsa).

The Senior party sounds fun....but I`m not one for staying up until 4 in the morning anymore. I have been waking up at 6:30 and sleeping at 10:30 for two years now and my body is quite used to it. That just doesn`t sound that fun....

That is soo cool that Jackson`s family got to be there for a baptism. I would love to have all of you come see one of ours...but that`s not what God wants so I guess it`s not important. Well...time is running short so I love you all so much. It seems like every other day is a Pday because the weeks are just flying by so I`ll be emailing you again soon. Tell all of the returned missionaries hello for me,


Elder Nelson

Monday, June 4, 2012

Last Capacitation

Note from Peggy:  We have had a really hard time with myldsmail lately.  Sometimes we get the letters in pieces several hours apart.  We actually never got his letter this week, I had to hack his account to see if he wrote us, which he had.  Evidently, he never got our letter either.

Happy 21st Birthday!
Querida familia,

Well I assume that something happened or you didn`t have time to write or something. I guess there`s a first time for everything. In the future in something happens and you can`t write if you could at least send me a line or two telling me there wasn`t time and that you`ll write next week just so that I don`t have to wonder what happened. I know I`m coming home soon....but not so soon that you have to stop writing me.

Well, this week went really well. We had two baptisms, Eusevio and Ana. The other elders in our ward baptized a family of 4 and I thought the picture of all of us together was pretty cool. Eusevio is a 22 year old that we found through a ward activity. He just has a huge desire to fix his life and progress in the life. He wanted to be baptized so badly, but it was really hard to get him ready because he doesn`t read very well (about as well as a 1st grader). But he just kept on going and reading and learning and finally he was ready for Sunday. We had two baptismal services, 1 after the services and another at 6:30. Eusevio was baptized after the services with the family of four. Ana was the 15 year old that I told you about. She didn`t believe in God about 3 weeks ago. Her baptismal service was so special and so spiritual and she chose me to baptize her. She didn`t want to get baptized with the other 5 because she doesn’t like attention and didn`t want very many people to be there so we had a service special for her.

We had a council with the district leaders in the zone just before and one of the missionaries in the council was Elder Hopkins. He has been one of my friends in the mission since a long time ago and he goes home on Friday. It is really weird to say good bye to him and Elder Jordan. As he was leaving he said "this may be the last time I see you in the mission, but it is a good image to finish with--Elder Nelson dressed in white." I was reflecting on that during the baptismal service of Ana and I just felt the spirit so strong that I wanted to run outside and tell the whole world about the restored gospel. This is who I am, it is part of me. Then I thought, "How can I ever stop doing this?" My mission has become part of me and I don`t know how I can ever let it go. I don`t want to ever change. We are declaring the gospel of Jesus Christ unto the ends of the world and we are changing lives. We are changing the world one person at a time. I cannot fathom anything that could remotely compare to the satisfaction of being a full time defender and messenger of eternal salvation. There is not enough time in eternity to become fed up or bored with being a missionary if you truly understand what you are about.

I got the birthday package! We had the Zone Leader Council on Thursday the 31st and I received it on Thursday. I also sent a word document with the capacitation that Elder Reynoso and I gave. They chose us to was the last capaciation I will ever give and so we tried to make it really good.  President has a pyramid he uses to teach the process of conversion. The bottom in finding a new family every single day, then comes teaching the first lesson and inviting them to be baptised, then comes going to church, then progressing then baptisms then the temple then the exaltation. It is a pyramid because not every one that is found is baptized and not everyone that is baptized goes to the temple. He also has a three legged stool that teaches about the 3 pillars of the obra misional, diligence, obedience and the Spirit. They assigned us the topic of how the conversion of the investigators has to do with the conversion of the missionary (how the pyramid rests on the stool.) I can explain it later if you don`t understand.

I forgot to tell you a couple stories from last week. Last week Elder Reynoso and I were teaching a lesson. I was speaking when all of the sudden Elder Reynoso stands up and yells "Elder Nelson" pointing at my arm. I jumped to my feet thinking that there was some sort of bug on the couch or something but Elder Reynoso grabbed a pillow and whacked me with it. I was pretty confused until I looked at the ground and saw a spider about the size of a 50 cent piece. It had been secretly crawling over my shoulder while I was teaching and I didn`t notice. Needless to say the spirit left pretty quickly..but I didn`t die so I guess that`s the more important part.

On Saturday (two days ago) we found a new investigator named Irene. She is an older lady (maybe 65) who let us into her house and wanted to hear more about the gospel. She seemed very elect and accepted all her commitments (go to church and baptism for the 17th). We passed by for her the next day and she was ready and waiting for us. She loved church, and when she found out that there was going to be a baptismal service after church she wanted to be baptized! She said that she hadn`t brought clothes and so she didn`t know if she would be able to but she would like to. We explained that we would do everything possible to baptize her the soonest possible, but that this week might be a little too soon. Incredible right? Well, I promised I would respond to everyone who wrote me last week so I`m gonna end this email to write the other ones. My birthday went fine. A normal work day just the way I wanted it. Some members made me a cake so we went and ate cake with them but we also collected a couple references so that it wouldn´t be a complete waste of time. I`m 21...weird. I still feel like I`m 18 and just barely out of high school....I guess the time goes by quickly. Well, I love you all. I hope all is well and that no one got hurt or no emergencies happened. Tell Jackson hello for me and let me know about how his family’s trip went. Also...Mom I need those baptismal photos from me and Elder Bringhurst please. Thanks.


Elder Nelson 

P.S.  Also I forgot to thank Grandma N for the chocolate and the letter. Also thanks for the book. I have been reading it at night and it is really good. I love the quote "The best measure of the greatness of a man is how much he can become like Jesus Christ." Thanks you for the popcorn and fruit leather...everything is sooo good. Thanks love ya bye

Monday, May 28, 2012

Holding to the Rod

Titans of Tulancingo

Dear Family,                                                                                                                                                        

Sorry for this week it`s gonna be a little short. We did our zone activity in Huauchinango today and it took a little longer than I thought it was going to. It was a really cool activity. Remember that one time in Helaman`s camp where they did a representation of the iron rod? That`s what we did but we did it to the base of a huge waterfall. We collected letters from all the converts of the missionaries as the fruit. It was really special and at the end we had a testimony meeting. I sent some pictures. Everyone is making a T sign because we are the Titans of Tulancingo. I can explain more next week if you would like.
Hold to the Rod in Huauchinango

The Straight and Narrow path by the Rod

Thanks for all the E mail! I usually go and print it off in the morning to read it throughout the day but we didn`t have time today because I left for Huauchinango at 7 in the morning so I will read them tonight and respond next week.

I can`t believe it is going to be June...time is so weird. I also can`t really believe that I am going to be 21...I still feel like I am 18 and fresh out of high school. I guess not.

This last week we were going to have a baptism of Liset and her sister Ana (the one that I told you about in phone call that had a prayer answered to know that God is real). They are 17 and 15 ...they are the ones that I told you about where we didn`t really know what to do when she answered the door and told us to come in but we decided to teach them. They didn`t get baptized because they just didn`t quite get ready enough. They are having issues leaving behind the Virgin of Guadalupe and hadn`t quite progressed enough but we are going to work really hard with them to see if we can get them ready for this week.

Zone Conference in Huauchinango
We are also teaching Eusevio, he is 23. We found him through a ward activity and he just is super golden. He wants to change his life and wants to be baptized (that is what he told us in our first visit with him). The challenge is that he doesn`t know how to read very well...more or less like a first grader. We have been visiting him everyday and teaching him little by little and I hope that he can be ready for this week also. We had a finding drought last week but I had a cool experience on Sunday. I was sitting in Sacrament meeting wondering what we had done wrong or why we hadn’t been able to find new investigators this week. All of the sudden a calm assurance came over me and I knew that God loved me and was pleased with our efforts of that week. I felt very strongly that the trial was over and that we were going to have a week of miracles. Walking out of the chapel  I contacted the first person I saw...a man of about  50 wearing a plaid shirt dad would wear. I asked him if he would like a tour of the chapel and he said yes. Turns out he has been researching churches and wanted to know more about the Book of Mormon and had been searching for an opportunity to get to know the church!! Miracles that happen after trials are the best. time`s up for this week but I will have more time next week to respond to questions and letters. Thanks for everything....
I love you all and I am so proud of all of you. Congrats of the graduation and the scholarships Cameron and keep on keepin on to the rest.


 Elder Nelson

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

A Toaster Brings Much Happiness

Dear Family,                                                                                                                                                                                      

Sounds like everyone is doing well as school winds down. Cameron is graduating in 2 weeks! That is so the mission is just kind of seems like everything just kind of stays the same....but I guess a lot changes in 2 years. Enjoy your last two will be hard to leave behind the self and life that you have worked so hard to create...but bigger and better things await.  That is really cool that Jon got to be Laurel`s teacher for a day (From Peggy: I had misunderstood...but they did see each other!)...speaking of which I would really love to teach in the MTC. I know it is really hard to get a job there but if you could ask Jon what you need to do or whatever so that I know. I think that would be the coolest job in the whole world. As for domestic things I wish I would`ve known...not really. I kinda just learned whatever I needed to on the spot...or at least I made it up and it all turned out all right. I can`t really think of anything except for don`t freak out too bad about Cameron leaving...we never really truly leave. I am glad that you got my SD card...I know that you like it when I explain tings but that would just be too hard. I guess I can explain the rest when we have the chance.

We baptized a lady named Alma (she is about 40) this week. She`s one that I would love to tell you about but since her situation is a little delicate I will have to wait to tell you about her in person. She is a super super elect investigator. Every single time we would go over to teach her she would ask us "When can I be baptized?" We asked her why she wanted to be baptized so badly and she just said that she was sick of doing life the wrong way and wanted to finally dedicate herself to God. She has lived a pretty rough life and the gospel is the answer for her and for everyone else. After being baptized (I would send the picture but the computer I`m on is kind of dumb and freezes every time I try to attach it) she stood up and bore her testimony, she said "I am grateful to be here and I am ready to work, I never want to leave this church." Her sister came with her who is not a member and in part of her testimony she publicly invited her sister to listen to us and be baptized!! So cool!!

Hilda and Ulises are doing really well, they are always there in the mutual activities and church services and are just so happy to be in the true church. The girl that I told you about in my phone call Ana, the one that received an answer about how God really does exist and love her came to church with her family this week. They are scheduled for baptism for this week and so we will see what happens. I want them to be baptized so badly because I have seen how much progress they have made and how much of a blessing the gospel will be in their lives.

Well I just realized that there is less than two weeks left until my birthday which means that there is only two weeks left of Jackson`s mission....I feel bad for the poor guy. He must be freaking out right now wondering what will happen after the fat lady sings. Good thing that`s not me that`s all I can say. Life just doesn`t really exist after the doesn`t really seem real.

Well Cameron looks a lot different in those pictures than I remember him. Tell Kolby to keep practicing his piano because there are not very many missionaries and less members that know how to play. We need more piano players in the world. Also is Cameron playing very much guitar these days?

Tonight we are going to travel into DF because Elder ReidReynoso has to renew his visa tomorrow in Polanco so looks like it will be a long bus ride. We will be staying with the secretaries so it will be fun to see them again and catch up on old times. Zone Tulancingo baptized 8 people this week. (Last week we baptized 3 and the weeks before that 8) so we are finally starting to see some progress. The expectation is that every zone baptize about 12 a week so we are on our way. With Elder Cataldo we were averaging about 4 or 5 a week and this week the zone has 14 people with a baptismal date. We are also focusing really hard on making sure that the missionaries are baptizing quality people and not just people that are willing. We want to be a help and not a burden to the ward and stake and baptizing the "low lying fruit" (remember when you talked to me about that a long time ago when I was still in high school?) is only a burden. We want to see the church explode in Tulancingo and that requires more than simply baptizing whoever.

Not a lot happened this week so I`m sorry for not having any exciting or dangerous or funny stories. Time is just going by so quickly that I don`t really realize it. It is just work work work and then it is Sunday...the work work work and then it is Sunday again. I guess time flies when you are having fun. We bought a toaster this week so I am way excited for that. ya.


Elder Nelson

Monday, May 14, 2012

No Pasa Mexico!!!

Dear Family,                                                                                                                                                      

Well I feel like there isn`t much to say but I guess there were a couple of stories I forgot to tell yesterday.

Yesterday we were walking to the food appointment when we see a man of about 40 bear hugging a girl of about 18 from behind. She had something in her hand which she threw across the street at which point the man let her go and went to go pick up the phone which she threw. The phone landed about 5 feet from us and the girl was crying hysterically...she ran over to us, grabbed on the arm of my companion and started speaking to us in English. We were so shocked we didn`t really know what to do (when was the last time a girl sobbed on my companion`s arm?) So I astutely asked "Are you ok?" At which point she started speaking in English telling us that he had hit her and taken the phone (this whole time she is just clinging to the arm of Elder ReidReynoso) and she just kept asking us for help and then after 2 or 3 minutes of asking for help and sobbing she just said "Pues, ya me voy a mi casa..."  (Well, I'm going home) and just left. I just about died of laughter from the look of shock and helplessness on my companion`s face when she latched on. I don`t really know if she was lying or what the deal was...but I guess we`ll never know.

The other funny story of the week was that we were contacting in our area when we contacted an older lady. We asked if we could accompany her to her house to share a message of Jesus Christ and she just said "well, I don`t think you actually want to go to my house but let`s go...." I thought that was kind of weird so I started to ask her if she had a mean dog or a mean husband or something of the sort and she just kept saying no, but you don`t want to come to my house. I kind of started getting the feeling that she was taking us to her church...I was right. She took us to the Catholic Church "El Sagrado Crozòn de Jesucristo." I tried explaining to her that we couldn`t go in because we had a rule that said that we can`t preach in the churches of other churches. But she wouldn`t take no for an this point there were a lot of people staring at us wondering why we were there and they just kept saying "no pasa pasa nada." (Nothing happens…nothing happens) I said no...but she just grabbed my arm and dragged me in and I didn`t really want to make a scene so I just thought "what the heck" and in we went. She took us above the church to a little chapel where the altar to Cristo Rey was set up. You can look those up on the internet without fear..not the same as Tepito...they are Saints that they pray to. Basically they are idols. This one was a four poster bed type thing with gold ribbons and places to kneel in front. She started telling us that we were very misled and that we should come back to the only true church...the catholic one. She asked us why we didn`t come visit Dios (she was referring to the altar) and we briefly tried to explain authority and how to recognize the true church...but upon seeing that she wouldn´t listen and seeing that she tried to force Elder ReidReynoso to kneel on the altar we took our leave. Everyone just kind of smiled at us in a "I don`t know what you are doing here but you`re idiots" kind of way on our way out. Just another adventure of contacting in never really know what is going to happen.

Today we went to play soccer on a Fut-7 field with a bunch of 14 -15 year old jovenes. (They were already there and wanted to play against the gringos). We whooped them. It was kind of funny to see their frustration on being beat by a bunch of gringos at their own game. That reminds of another funny story that happened this week. We were knocking doors when we passed by a bunch of little kids. They all stopped talking and stared at us like they usually do...but then about 5 minutes later a little boy with his older sister came up to us (The little boy obviously had a question for us but was to embarrased to ask us) and asked us "¿Ustedes son gringos?"  (you are the gringos?) and we answered yes. They jus tsaid ok, and they left. It was funny and gave us a good laugh.

Well it was great to see and hear all of you yesterday. I guess that`s the last time I will get to skype home from Mexico so I hope ya`ll enjoyed it. Melissa sounds so much like Darci I thought it was Darci that was speaking at first, Cameron, I hope you`re studying PME because you`ll need it out here. I couldn`t tell if you and Kolby were wearing my clothes or not but I am going to need those in a couple months so don`t break anything. It was good to see Darci and Joe still happy and together like it should be. Tell Grandma I will come help her in her garden when I get home.

I love you all so much and give Chika a belly rub for me.


Elder Nelson

Monday, May 7, 2012

The Rosario

Morning Smoke from the Fields in Tulancingo

Dear Family,                                      

Well...I`m gonna answer all the questions first.  I am excited for the phone call. As for release date I`m sure it is the 21st Saturday that I will be traveling....just they haven`t bought my ticket yet so I don`t know about that. I actually just had to fill out a survey today about which airport I would be flying into and all that fun stuff.... Elder Haslam or Elder Hicken should be giving you a call to tell you my travel plans. I always understood that they bought the ticket at the beginning of the last change of the missionary...for me that would be around June 9th but who knows what really goes on in the offices these days.

My new companion is Elder Reidreynoso. He is from Sacramento California (about an hour from Elder Bringhurst) and he is really a great companion. I sent the baptismal picture from this week and he is in it. He baptized the mom (Hilda) and I baptized the kid (Ulises). He is pretty much a normal American and I love him. He has about 17 months in the mission and so he`s still a young spring chicken. He is kind of going through the same things I went through when I got here because of the drastic change in environment (he comes from DF). I don`t know what else to say so you`ll have to ask questions.

For 5 de Mayo they didn`t really do that much except go to misa...

Elder Reidreynoso, Hilda, Ulises, and Elder Nelson

Hilda and her son are just awesome people and I am so happy that they got baptized. They were a reference from a recent convert. She lost her son about 2 years ago to suicide and a week later lost her father to sickness and so she has had to live through some major trials in her life. When her son died they put a rosario around his neck that smelled like roses, it was a special and unique scent. He was buried in the rosario. While she was preparing to go to our first appointment together she started smelling the same smell and just kind of brushed it off as an afterthought. After our appointment her mom asked her if she (this was independent because she hadn’t told anyone about the smell) had smelled the roses from the rosario of her son that afternoon. She said that she had and realized that her son was with her and wanted her to take this step of faith to be able to do the work for him. Cool huh?

All right in the phone call ask me to tell you about the experience we had with the crazy lady from the sagrado corozon de Jesucristo.

That is a crazy coincidence about Elder Swenson....the world is too small. He finishes up about 2 weeks after Jackson I think. (Elder Swenson is a friend of Braden's from BYU who is serving in Jackson Ostler's sister's mission.  The Ostler's visited her mission over spring break and happened to see him in the offices.  I sent Braden their picture.)

Well....sorry this is such a short letter....I had to do a couple of other paper work things with my hour of internet this week but I figured it was ok because I will be talking to you on Sunday anyways. Nice vest Kolby and Cameron. Talk to ya soon (and don`t worry I`m not gonna stop working hard till the plane hits the`s the only way to show my love for the Savior.....and I still have 11 weeks left (that`s a long time))


Elder Nelson   

Monday, April 30, 2012

Salsa Recipes

Dear Familia,                                                                                                                                                                                     

We had a good week here in Tulancingo. Elder Cataldo is leaving, changes are tomorrow and we will be leaving at 7 in the morning. It is kind of bitter sweet. He has been a good companion and we have gotten along well.
We found a couple of new investigators this week that seem pretty solid. We received a phone call this week from a brother who had a reference for us. We went to go check it out and it turns out that Alma (weird coincidence right?) had been meeting with the missionaries in Chiapas and had to move to Tulancingo. She was searching desperately to find us again to keep learning more. She went to church on Sunday with her 2 year old and loved it. We also found a less active family to activate this week. They were baptized about 4 years ago but had been inactive for work. We found them and they are no longer working on Sunday`s and were excited to see us. We went by to go pick them up on Sunday and the mom told us that the dueño of their house (they rent like everyone else here) was really Catholic and had told them that we could no longer visit them. She told him to get lost and that they would be looking for a new apartment. She said "I won`t change my beliefs just for an old man..." Haha. It was funny but in a serious sort of way. That is what the gospel does to people--it gives them the strength to do impossible things. Impossible is just a word for people who don`t want to try.

As for the missionary work here in Tulancingo there are not very many people in the street and it is not very effective to contact in the city center where there are a lot of people in the street because no one lives in our area. So we walk and knock doors and contact anyone that is walking in the street where we are knocking. We don`t always knock doors though. About half the time we walk down street looking for people to contact and only knock the doors that we feel like we should knock. We also try to visit at least 1 member every day to share a spiritual thought and ask for references or leave a Book of Mormon so that they can give it to their friends.

I was trying to think of a really Mexican food you could make. Try looking up a recipe for Pozole (it is a soup with corn and chicken and other things) or you could try Tinga. I`m sure you could finds a recipe for them. The really Mexican thing would be mole...but they don`t want to eat that. I learned how to make salsa. It`s actually pretty easy. Just buy some tomatoes (the smaller cylinder red ones I think they are called romano or something like that) and a couple of chili`s. I made mine with habanero but you could buy serrano or de arbol. I guess jalapeño too but that isn`t really that spicy. Then you fry the tomatoes whole and the chili`s too in a frying pan on the stove until they are nice and toasted. Then you put it into the blender with a little bit of garlic or lemon juice and salt (if you want to make guacamole then just put in the avocados and cilantro in addition to the garlic) and you blend it. Then you put it in a pot and heat it up until it has a nice salsa-y consistency. Then you put it on everything (that`s what they do here anyways). That is salsa for tacos...there are other ways to make other salsas but that`s the only way I know how to make it.

I haven`t really seen gardens. They usually just have random plants and trees that give fruits like lemon trees and orange trees. They have plants that they use to make tea (lemon leaf tea or yerbabuena or manzanilla (I think that is chamomile)). They can`t grow things on their roofs because they are made of either cardboard or aluminum sheeting. Some have concrete roofs too. In my area the streets are about 70 percent paved and 30 percent not paved. The city is pretty rural, most of the people come from the campo and so are pretty country like. The people here are a lot less educated than in DF so it makes for some interesting lessons sometimes. For example this week we knocked a door and a lady let us in. She is maybe 35 and said that she goes to a Christian church. We go into her house that looks half abandoned from trash and old food everywhere and sit down on some rickety old wooden chairs. We begin to teach and she said "I don`t know why God can`t heal me, maybe I`m a bad person because I have asked so much to be healed and He hasn`t heard me." She didn`t look sick and so I ventured the question "What are you sick of?" She answered "schizophrenia" We ended to lesson rather quickly and made our exit. There`s a lot of crazy people like that here. There are also a lot of well educated and wonderfully talented people also but they don`t make for such interesting stories.

HEY::: I almost forgot something I need in my package.....I`m gonna need more contacts before I go home. I have until June 21st...then I`m out.
There`s no easy solution to life...just working until your head falls off. But if we are willing to pay the price of success God is willing to give it to us. Really and truly though...everyone has to learn things for themselves...that is the hard part for those who have been there before (To sit there and watch while others have to learn the same lessons) That is the hard part about missionary work too.

Well, I love you all. I`ll tell you about my new companion next week. Also I have been a little sick with a sore throat. Love ya.

Elder Nelson

Tuesday, April 24, 2012


Dear Family,                                                                                                            

Sorry I didn`t respond about my new roommate. I am really happy about it so thanks. Speaking of Elder Bringhurst he goes home this week. His last day is Saturday. That is so strange for me because he only has 3 months more than I do in the mission. I always said that I would start being worried about going home when Elder Bringhurst goes home...but he`s going home and I still feel like I have a lot more to do, so that`s good. I went to Xicotepec to do divisions with him on Tuesday and he said "I don’t really even feel like I`m going home." That`s just kind of how the mission is, it becomes your life and you can`t imagine yourself doing anything else and you don`t really remember what it was like before the mission. Your house just becomes a fantasy, it doesn`t even feel like it exists because I am a missionary and that`s what I`ve always done and that`s what I`ll always be. But I guess that`s not how it works. But I`m sure his mom is excited so that`s good for her. That also means that changes are in a week so we`ll see if I stay with Elder Cataldo for another change or not.

Also sorry for not responding to the news about Cameron`s scholarship. Sometimes you just get writing and then by the time you remember then your time runs out. But anyways, felicidades Cameron. That is a huge blessing....your older brother is just a little bit stupider and couldn`t get any scholarships. I don`t know if you realize how big of a deal that is but you deserve a blizzard.

We haven`t had any ash...actually I hadn`t even heard that Popo was exploding. That would be an exciting thing to have happen on your mission....well I`ll look for ash to fall. Maybe I`ll take a couple of bottles to sell or something.

I have no idea what is wrong with myldsmail....maybe it has something to do with the pictures or something...As for helping people out I really don`t know. Everybody has clothes and stuff because they are really cheap. What people really need is jobs and to know how to read. There are a lot of people that don`t know how to read and that don`t have a job....usually because they sit around drinking all the time...but I don`t know that there is anything you could send in a package to fix that.

This week we had several miracles. The members of our ward gave us a lot of references this week. Some of them good...some of them not so good. Hilda and Ulises (mother and son) are a family that we found by way of reference this week. About 6 months ago Hilda`s older son killed himself and a week later Hilda`s father passed away. She struggled for a long time and really wondered if God existed. We taught her in the home of the member and the first lesson we taught the plan of salvation and how through the Atonement of Jesus Christ all of our pains can be resolved and our families can be together forever. She is so excited and is really seeing a change in her life. She and her son went to church on Sunday and really liked it. We also had a miracle this week on Saturday. We were knocking doors when a 50 year old lady answered the door...she didn`t look like she wanted to let us in but we bore our testimonies and so she thought for a second and called her daughter over. Her daughter is 16 years it was kind of weird (like she wanted her daughter to get to know us and take her to the US with us) but she let us in and we didn`t really see any other option with being rude than go in. We started to teach and talk about how going to church can help us in our daily lives with trials and tribulations and things like that. Well they said they would go so we said we would pass by for them the next day. They actually went to church and stayed the 3 hours plus an extra hour for the baptismal service of the other elders in our ward. They seemed to really like it and the best part is the 16 year old has a boyfriend already so she went to church to learn more about God and not for us.`s that time again. I love ya`ll and hope you’re doing well. Tell Grandma Nelson hello and I love her and Grandma and Grandpa Andy hello and I love them too.


Elder Nelson

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Tree of Life

Dear Family,                                                                                                                                                                   

Well, there goes another week. Who knows where it went but it`s gone. The spider man bed spread was just a blanket that someone had left in the house so I decided to use it. It`s not actually mine and I`ll leave it there when I leave but it`s a nice blanket mientras.
We are doing well in Tulancingo.  There is some agriculture where we are...and it may be slightly higher in elevation but I don`t really know. It is greener because it is closer to the ocean and the rainforest so I assume it rains a lot here in the rainy season...I guess we`ll find out won`t we?  The difference is that here is a lot drier and windier than the big city. The weather is quite a bit like tri city weather...We eat with members every afternoon. It is a blessing to be able to be with them often and ask for their help and references. In a perfect world the mission leader would conduct the baptismal services, actually I think the manual says that a member of the bishopric should do it. Seeing as how our ward mission leader is not a very punctual person usually one of the missionaries ends up conducting the services. Elder Cataldo conducted this last one. I have learned how to cook several things...I always ask the sisters how to make the food we eat to know how to make it. I haven`t tried to make very many things yet because there isn`t very much time to cook but We`ll see how much I can learn. I can`t believe that it is already Mother’s Day in 3 weeks. There are a couple of members that have computers that we will use to skype home on Mother’s day....just that mom is going to have to send me my user name and password again because I forgot. We see President about 2 times a month...quite a bit less than before but I`m getting used to it. He is a great man and I have learned so much from him.  
I did get the package. Thank you so much for the socks. I threw away all the ones that have holes in them and I have just enough now. Thank you for all the candy and stuff, I`ll probably be a diabetic by the end of my mission but that`s ok, gotta live it up while it lasts. I got the usb drive and even though mom didn`t put an explanation on it I suppose that means that she wants me to send my sd card home. I`m working on it and sometime in the next couple weeks I will get it sent off.

We only have visitors when there are meetings or activities early in the morning in Tulancingo like Zone Conferences and interviews and zone activities. Xicotepec and Huauchinango are pretty far away so they come in the night before to not have to get up so early in the morning. We have a couple of extra mattresses for them to sleep on when they come in.

The sisters in the picture I sent were some members of our ward who brought food for half the zone in General Conference. Her daughters are some of the ward missionaries and they are a great family. The pictures that I sent of the area that are greener are on the way to Huachinango and so we don`t really go there to work very much. We have a ton of little pueblos but we don`t go there to work because the people don`t have money to go to church. President Monson has instructed that we grow the church from the center out. So we are dedicating our efforts to the main city of Tulancingo and only going out in the pueblos for references. We do have 2 sister missionaries in our zone. Sister Valera from Colombia and Sister Vega from Peru.

As for getting the ward involved we have been trying as hard as we can to always be smiling. We always try to animate the members and let them know that we are missionaries that work and baptize. That gives them the confidence to give us references. Apart from that we are trying to serve the bishop by activating less active families and helping him out with whatever he needs. We have been working closely with the 1st counselor because he gave us a reference. We went and taught the reference in his house and we gave a really spiritual lesson. He (the counselor) was crying at the end. Even though the reference didn`t really want anything to do with it the brother just caught on fire and has been giving references and talking about the gospel with everyone. We have been trying to better our relationship with the Relief Society president because some of the missionaries that were here before kind of killed off any relationship with the ward. We are going to do some ward activities and a "tree of life" where we put a huge tree on the bulletin board. When someone gives us a reference we put a leaf with their name on it on the board. When the reference is being taught we put a yellow leaf and when they have been baptized we put a fruit with their name on it on the tree. Hopefully the pride of the members will force them to give us more references. We`ll see. The only reason members don`t help in missionary work is 2 things...they don`t have a very strong testimony of the gospel of Jesus Christ (or they don`t understand that they are in the only true church and that anyone who does not get baptized in it has no chance of salvation) or they are afraid because they don`t know how to help. Addressing those two problems will fix any participation problem.

I got to speak on Sunday. I spoke about the obra misional and Alma 42. Basically because of the fall of Adam all men are fallen and lost. We of ourselves cannot get back to the presence of God and that creates the need of a Redeemer. The Atonement saves us from the physical death...but it only saves us conditionally from the spiritual death. We need to be obedient to the ordinances (baptism) of the Gospel to be able to return to live with him again. We are the only church that can offer salvation because the Restoration gives us the unique ability to be able to testify of the divine authority through which we baptize. No one else except for the Catholic religion can claim that. Therefore we must share the gospel or all our neighbors will never be able to go Home.

Also I sent some pictures of the zone activity we did today. We went to the house of a less active member of our ward and cleaned up his house and land. They are really super poor and people like that just live in we went and took out all the garbage and fixed his roof and organized all their stuff. The mom isn`t a member and committed to go to church this week as a result! We then went back to the church and had a training on having the tenacity and mental strength to baptize every week. Then we had burritos. It was a good activity. Well...I love you and pray for you and hope you all are living up the standards of the gospel.

Hoorah for Israel,

Elder Nelson