Tuesday, August 21, 2012


So first things first.  We're flying to Las Vegas on Thursday morning to go sign for our visas to Mexico! We're getting our visas! I'm not going to be delayed!

It's crazy to think that my experience here in the MTC is almost over. It's been an amazing experience but I'm starting to get anxious to be in Mexico. Even though I won't understand anything anyone is saying (I hear they slur their words so bad and talk about 20x times faster than I'm used to) I'm so excited to be out in the field and bringing God's children in Mexico closer to Jesus Christ.

Fun Things

1) So..I have started getting a little better at sand volleyball. Yesterday, I had a relapse though. There was a ball that was obviously short and I decided in my infinite wisdom that I would go for it. So, I started sprinting forward, tripped, face-planted in the sand as the ball landed next to me and bent my big toe in a weird way during the entire process. Once again, my superior athletic skills have surfaced during my stay here in the MTC.

2) This week Elder Davis and I got to teach the newest district that came into our zone all the orientation material and gave them a tour of the MTC as zone leaders. We also got to bear our testimonies to them about missionary work which was really neat. We have another new district coming in this week which is crazy so we'll be doing the same thing all over again. The MTC President said that the MTC is in it's peak season right now so there should be around 2,900 missionaries here in the MTC pretty soon. They said they're going to have to start putting elders on mattresses on the floor because there are not enough beds!

3) This week my district is old enough to host the new missionaries that come in tomorrow so maybe I'll be able to host Max tomorrow!

4) Elder Davis and I were in charge of coordinating Sacrament Meeting on Sunday, which turned out to be an epic failure. Somehow the hymns got mixed up and it was really awkward because Brother Bradford and the Elder in charge of hymns were just arguing over what we were going to be singing. We buried our heads in shame. But we're learning and that's all that counts, right?

5) We teach at least 2 a day now. My Spanish is getting a lot better and I feel pretty confident teaching church lessons in the language. However...if someone asked me what I did before my mission I'd be like...ahhh....ahhh....escuela. So, I'm working on making my everyday conversational Spanish a lot better.

6) Someone compared Sacrament meetings in the MTC to the Hunger Games because every Sunday the Branch President selects two elders/sisters to give talks in Spanish that day. Like the Hunger Games at selection time, you can literally hear a sigh of relief once you find out that you haven't been chosen.

7) This past Sunday Elder Davis and I taught both priesthood meeting about the Book of Mormon and our District Meeting (Sunday School) about the Holy Ghost. Both turned out to be pretty spiritual experiences for us.

8) Every Sunday they play either one of three movies: Legacy (Pioneers), The Joseph Smith Story, or The Testaments. I have now seen all of them at least twice. We've started memorizing the dialogue.

There's just a little taste of what's going on at the MTC!

Now for the spiritual stuff. On Monday, our teacher wrote this question up on the board asking us what Jesus Christ meant to us. She gave us 30 minutes to study from the scriptures and find out what he meant to us. It was such a great experience. I was able to go through the Four Gospels, the BOM, and D&C and find those scriptures that have moved me to change and really taught me about who my Savior is and what he means to me. I was able to write down all of the references and have a list now that I can look at whenever I need spiritual strength. I encourage you all to do this. Just look through the scriptures and write down all the references about the Savior that mean something to you. It just strengthened my testimony about Jesus Christ. It is crazy to me that a man walked this Earth and was willing to perform miracles and atone for our sins, sicknesses, and feel every pain we've ever felt, and then die for us. My Savior means everything to me. Here in the MTC I've felt his presence even stronger. It's so funny. I'll pray at night over things I want to improve on and then during the day I can see specific situations that I'm put in that try me in the exact ways I wanted to be tried in. He is my friend, my judge, my brother, and in the end, the Savior and Redeemer of my Soul. I love the Scriptures because they bring me closer to him and help me understand him better. He is everything to me and because he is walking with me through this journey, I can do anything. He did not send me here to fail. I love the scripture in Doctrine & Covenants 88:63 "Draw near unto me and I will draw near unto you; seek me diligently and ye shall find me; ask, and ye shall receive; knock, and it shall be opened unto you." I promise that this scripture is true. I've seen it work with me here. No matter what I want to improve on, whether it be relationships with the Elders in my district, zone, or my companion, teaching, spiritual questions, comfort, reassurance, strength, I receive it all when I draw nearer to my Savior. I promise you all that he is standing there at the door. Waiting for us to knock. His arm of mercy is extended to all of us. We need only grasp it and move towards him. One such experience happened last night. My companion and I were thinking about how we could get one of our investigators to want to read the Book of Mormon. I felt impressed to read 3 Nephi 17 with my companion. As we went through it slowly and read each verse and really thought about each verse. The spirit told both of us again that Jesus Christ is the Savior of the world. As we read about his mercy, his love, his desire to heal, we were both filled with the Spirit and now have the chapter that we will teach Maria.

This gospel is so true. The scriptures are my best friends out here. I love being a missionary. I can't describe how honored I am to wake up every morning and put the name of Jesus Christ on my chest and then go to work for him. I am so blessed to have developed good friendships with the elders in my district and zone. In every way I can see the hand of the Lord guiding my life and shaping me into who he will have me be. I want to be the best instrument in his hands that I can be. I love you all and pray for all of you. Thank you for your letters and your thoughts. They mean the world to me. Until next week,

Elder Nielsen

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