Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Hello family and friends!

Wow. This last week in the MTC has literally flown by. A lot has happened and there's a lot I want to share so I hope I can adequately express the things I have felt and experienced. First, let's talk about my companion Elder Davis. One of the cool parts of being a missionary is learning how to work well with people that have different learning styles, teaching styles, and personalities. This past week Elder Davis and I were trying to prepare a lesson for our investigator Maria and we just weren't on the same page for anything. We were both so frustrated with each other and I could tell that the Spirit had left the room. I asked him if we could pray together. In the prayer I apologized to Heavenly Father for acting selfishly and for not working together and driving out the Spirit. I asked for the Spirit to return so that we could effectively plan. I felt it come back in the room. We both put our pride aside and started working together and ended up having a great lesson. I love Elder Davis. He has such a strong testimony of this church and we have a lot of fun together. Here is an example of that. Last night we started teaching two new investigators (now we as missionaries are the investigators in addition to both of our teachers so we were teaching Gus and Juan a.k.a Elders Nish and Healy for the first time), and we had just met them and found out their names. I started to give the opening prayer and thanked Heavenly Father for the faith he had given Gus and....I forgot the other name! I just sat there for literally like 10 seconds and then Elder Davis said under his breath Juan! And then everyone just started laughing. It was so funny and just a tad embarrassing but we laughed about it! I guess I better pay more attention when people introduce themselves to me in Mexico!

An Update on Our Investigators:

Maria: Maria is a single mother of a two year old daughter named Abby. She works long hours in a Mexican restaurant in Spokane, Washington and says that she has lost a lot of faith because she hasn't felt God in her life and she told us that it is very hard for her to be happy. This week we really taught her the Atonement and Prayer. I love the scripture in Alma 7:11-12. I know that we can feel happy because Jesus Christ felt everything that we have gone through. He experienced every pain, every sorrow, sickness, doubt, and fear. Because of this, he knows how to succor us and redeem our souls. She's beginning to understand. We taught her how to pray and she was soo nervous to do it! We literally were on our knees for like a minute before she said she would do it on the next visit. So we challenged her to pray with her daughter. She said she did and we asked her how she felt after the prayer. She said she felt peaceful. We were able to teach her about the Spirit and the blessings of truth, peace, and knowledge we receive when we have the Spirit in our lives. I love Maria. Even though it is really our teacher Hermana Arroyo, this is someone she taught on her mission. She is expressing to us the same feelings and doubts as the real Maria. I'm beginning to feel what it will be like when I see people making changes and coming closer to Christ in Mexico. We just committed her to a specific baptismal date yesterday and we asked her why she wanted to be baptized. She said because everytime we teach her she feels peaceful and that she's learned that she is actually important to God. I loved that answer.

Luis: We have finally committed Luis to baptism and taught him about the word of wisdom this week. Surprise, surprise, he had problems with drinking, tobacco, and coffee. I started asking him questions like Do you give your children rules? Do they understand why you're giving them rules? Why do you give them rules? Do you see the wisdom in the rules your parents gave you when you were young? Who is someone in your life that has wisdom? And then I told him that Heavenly Father has all wisdom. He's given us these guidelines because he can see the beginning from the end. He wants to protect us and keep us safe. Just as when we were children, we may not see the wisdom in these rules right now, but we need to have faith and trust in Heavenly Father that he will guide is in the right direction and sacrifice just a little in order to come closer to the Savior and Heavenly Father. We got him to committ to living the Word Wisdom!

Every week I feel myself growing in my teaching capabilites. I'm learning how to ask the right questions. How to really understand and know my investigators and how to teach from the scriptures. This week I studied the parable of the Vineyard in the Book of Jacob. I love verses 71 and 72. I shudder at the prospect that I won't find those brothers and sisters of mine in Mexico that are waiting for me and the gospel of Jesus Christ. I am putting everything I have into this work and sometimes I wonder if I can still be doing more. At the end of my mission I want to look back with no regrets, knowing that I gave everything I could to my Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ. Jesus Christ suffered and atoned for me. He sacrificed everything for me so I can live and enjoy life. Having the knowledge that I can return to live with my Heavenly Father and my Family again. I owe him everything. Once I start thinking about that, waking up at 6:30 doesn't seem so hard anymore.

I had a great experience yesterday that I want to share. There's this elder in my district named Elder Robertson. I love Elder Robertson. He's the strangest and most different person I've ever met but he has such a good heart and really wants to be here. Yesterday he asked if he could talk with me and I said yes. He started crying. I told him to stand up and I gave him a hug. He said that he just can't understand the language and that he was losing sight of why he was on the mission. I was able to give him some counsel. I told him to express gratitude for everything he DOES receive. And then pour out his soul to Heavenly Father in prayer and tell him what he needs. I was so touched that I have developed relationships with the elders in my district to the point that they would trust me and talk to me about the things that concern them most. I try everyday to lead by example and work the hardest I can and to be their friends. It was such a tender moment.

Prayer: In one of my morning prayers I prayed that I would run across Derek Buckner because I really wanted to see him but since we're speaking different languages we don't cross paths very often. As I was leaving my residence hall that morning I ran into him on his way back from service. Brother and Sister Buckner, he looked great! And looked very happy! Also thank you for your card, it meant a lot! I know that prayer works. I know that when we are specific with what we want, Heavenly Father will provide for us.

Well, my time is almost up. I just want all of you to know that I love you all very much. I love your letters and packages. Every week I want to bear my testimony. I know that God and Jesus Christ (I keep wanting to type Jesucristo) live. I need the Savior to be my brother, my friend, my judge, and in the end, the Savior and Redeemer of my soul. This work is hard but so fulfilling. I see miracles daily and I have felt the Spirit testify strongly to me each day in different ways that this gospel is true. I am so excited to share it with my friends in Mexico. I love you all. You are in my prayers. Pray for strength. Use the Atonement. Make changes. Never be afraid to say you're wrong. Look up to God and the Savior, stay present, and look out to others and I promise that you will find that happiness and peace we all want. I love you all. I'm learning and growing and I've never been happier. Until next week!

Elder Nielsen

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