Well Hello Everyone!
This is your weekly email from Elder Nielsen in the field. I would like to start off with a few more observations that I have had from Mexico!
1) We went to the house of a member for our "comida" which is everyday at 3:00. They had completely forgotten and asked if they could order Domino's Pizza for us. I think I almost cried with happiness. It tasted so good.
2) The Police in Mexico are really scary because they always have these MASSIVE guns slung over their shoulders and when they ride in the back of trucks they are literally pointing the guns at the people walking on the sidewalks.
3) Oftentimes little Mexican children will run up to me and ask me to speak English to them. Once I do they either get really nervous and run away or they cuss at me in English. One or the other.
4) Everyone is addicted to Coke (the drink). Everyone.
5) Aerpostale and Crocs are the two most popular brands that I have seen thus far.
6) Every week we help a sister in our ward with her English class because the students want to practice with an American. Last time was sort of really awkward because I had to explain to a roomful of Mexican citizens how I felt about illegal immigration as a citizen of the United States. But it has actually been really good that we have been doing this because we have a family home evening planned tonight with 4 girls that attend the class in the home of this sister!
7) We had a lesson yesterday with a young mother who just had a baby and while we were talking to her about the Book of Mormon she just whipped it out (you know what I am talking about) and suddenly it was feeding time. I do not think I have ever felt more uncomfortable during my entire life. But apparently it is normal.
8) Whenever the members sing hymns it is always really off key which is pretty funny.
Just some more observations for your amusement and edification. The work is getting better but it is still really difficult because of the "no street contacting" and "no door approaches" policy which is about to become policy for every mission in Mexico. We have definitely had to get creative. We have been searching the area book for old investigators, visiting inactives and part-member families, and visiting members and pretty much getting them to help us either by providing references, service, visiting inactives with us, or volunteering to accompany us to lessons. Also my Spanish is slowly improving everyday which I am grateful for. It still continues to be my biggest challenge though and I worry about it a lot.
For the rest of my letter, I want to share with you all something I wrote in my journal this week. I feel inspired and I hope that it will help someone.
Well. Once again it was a bitter sweet day for me as a missionary. We started off with a meeting with our entire zone, President and Hermana Kusch, and the assistents. Something really struck me during Hermana Kuschs talk. It was a video of David A. Bednar and he was talking about revelation and the Holy Ghost. He said that most of the time life is like a foggy day and that normally you only receive enough light to be able to see where you are going for one or two steps. Then, once you take those one or two steps, you receive just enough light to be able to walk another one or two steps. This really stuck out to me because it is a perfect analogy for how my mission is. It is scary, dark, and foggy, and most of the time I receive just enough light to move forward and keep moving forward. I think the reason why I am still here is because God provides me with that comforting, hopeful, peaceful light everyday. Even though I cannot see the future or where I am going, he can. He knows who I need to meet, where I need to be, and the experiences I need to have in order to reach this end goal he has in mind for me. So what is the light that is so enticing and comforting to me? The Holy Ghost, the scriptures, Preach My Gospel, prayer, other people, and my Savior. God works through these mediums to guide his children through the fog. The more we access and learn to love these mediums, the more inclined we will be to act in faith and continue following the light and the plan God has set for us, instead of giving up and wandering off in the fog and losing ourselves. In the end, on this mission, God must be my best friend, my confidant, my ally. He the Savior and the Holy Ghost are oftentimes the only ones I can turn to for support, guidance, and comfort. These first 3 weeks in the field have been humbling for sure. Once again, God has seen fit to remind me that all my efforts are in vain without him. He has also seen fit to teach me greater patience. I found myself praying one today, "Heavenly Father, I am doing everything I am supposed to be doing. I am obedient, I study hard, I work hard, why I am not seeing miracles?" The answer I received came from a song that I love called My Kindness Shall Not Depart from Thee. "How long can rolling waters remain impure. What power can stay the hand of God? The son of man hath descended below all things, Art thou greater than he? So hold on thy way, and I shall be with thee. And mine angels shall encircle thee. Doubt not what thou knowest. Fear not man for he, cannot hurt thee. And with everlasting mercy will I succor thee, and with healing will I take thee neath my wings. For the mountains shall depart, and the hills shall be removed, and the valley shall be lost beneath the sea. Know my child, my kindness shall not depart from thee." I just kept getting the overwhelming feeling that I needed to just keep going. Keep walking. Keep trying. And lose myself. Rely on others and show more gratitude for the amazing light that I receive everyday. My desires are righteous. I want to help others. And I know God will bless me when it comes to the language and all other things that I need because he did not send me here to fail or lose faith. He sent me here to help others and grow rapidly. I love the scripture in Doctrine and Covenants 88:49-50 "The light shineth in the darkness, and the darkness comprehendeth it not, neverthess, the day shall come when you shall comprehend even God, being quickened in him and by him. Then shall ye know that ye have seen me, that I am, and that I am the true light that is in you, and that you are in me, otherwise ye could not abound." My goal is to trust that light always. How could I not? How can I forget my testimony and the amazing things the Lord has done for me so easily once hard times come? I know and have a testimony that Jesus Christ lives and is the Savior of the world. I know that he suffered for and felt every pain I have felt and that he stands there, ready and waiting to succor me and give me the comfort and strength I need. I need only come to him. I know that no matter how hard life gets, no matter how dark, God stands there always, and the light of the gospel can always pierce the darkness. The darker it gets, the more brilliant the light shines. I know that this gospel has the power to make people happy. Truly happy. And I know, without a shadow of a doubt that what I am doing right now is what God wants me to be doing. I am exactly where I should be. And I want to be here. Everyday I gain an even greater desire to be here. And I know that there is purpose and reason behind everything. I want to close this entry with one last scripture. My mission scripture. The reason why I am here. "And now, behold, I say unto you, that the thing that will be of the most worth unto you will be to declare repentance unto this people, that you may bring souls unto me, that you may rest with them in the kingdom of my Father, Amen.""
I love you all very much.