Monday, November 12, 2012

Hello Everyone!

Impressions of Mexico: Our Bathroom

1) We do not have hot water. Which makes bathing myself at 7:00 a.m. everyday one of my greatest personal struggles. There is like a literal personal war going on inside of me as I stand in front of the ice cold water every morning.

2) In order to flush the toilet we have to open the back of the toilet, stick our hand in the water, and pull on this cord thingy. The first time I did it, I was like, "You have got to be kidding me." Now it is completely natural.

So I hope that I did not gross you all out too bad. But it just gives you an idea of our living conditions here in Igualita. So, I hope that you are all doing amazingly well. I am doing pretty well. This week Elder Miguel and I changed our approach in how we are going about working with the members of our ward. We set appointments with them, teach their families, and tell them about the current situation of missionary work here in Mexico. Then, at the end of the lesson, we invite the head of the family to say a kneeling prayer, asking Heavenly Father to provide someone for us by the next day. Then we go back and check with their family the next day. I cannot tell you what a spiritual experience it has been to be present during those prayers and to feel the Spirit of those prayers. We always ask them if they believe that God is a God of miracles. We always ask them if they believe that he can provide people for them. Something I have learned about God is that we merely need to ask for the righteous things that we desire. Why would he not give them to us? It may not be on our limited timetable, but he will always succor and support his children that humble themselves before him on their knees and ask for righteous things.

I know that the hand of God is moving in this area. It is still REALLY slow. And I am working on being patient and staying present. But I know and can honestly say that I am doing all I can do to help the Kingdom of God grow in this area. And it is a really good feeling to know that. I am not perfect. Everyday I make so many mistakes. And I am learning everyday even more things that I need to improve. But I know that God is walking with me. And I know that the Savior is working on my salvation during this process, just as much as the salvation of his other children. I want to climb this mountain that the Savior has placed before me. 

I want to share something that has really helped me. Everyday, during my prayers, I ask God for one special spiritual experience. And everyday that I ask for it, he grants it to me. Whether it is being able to sit and meet a handicapped daughter of a sister in our ward, or read a scripture that fills my soul with joy and understanding, or see a beautiful sunrise when I leave my bathroom in the morning, everyday I ask for it, God gives it to me. And he helps me recognize that these are his gifts to me. His son. His son whom he loves. I think you all should know by now that these first couple months have not been easy. But what I am so grateful for is that they have caused me to draw even closer to my Heavenly Father and Savior. To literally seek after them in all things because if I cannot feel their presence, if I cannot feel the presence of the Spirit, then I truly am alone. So, even through it all, through only teaching 2 lessons with investigators, through the heat, the bathroom, etc. I still feel loved. I still feel safe. I still receive peace, something that we are always entitled to have. I needed this period of refinement to help me grow. To help me gain a stronger testimony. So that I would know, without a shadow of a doubt in my soul that I cannot save myself. Only Christ can do that. Surrendering myself and humbling myself has been so hard. But I have to trust that God knows my life. My existence from the beginning to the end. He knows what is required of me now, that will help me help others later.

I love my Heavenly Father. I love my Savior Jesus Christ. I love this church. I know that this is how the Lord wants his work to be done. Through the members. It took me, what, 10 weeks to come to this realization and accept this, but I now know that it is his will. I have faith and hope that all the promises that God has made to me will come to pass. And during hard times his Spirit whispers to me, "My son, peace be unto thy soul, thine adversity and thine afflictions shall be but a small moment. And then, if thou endure it well, God shall exalt thee on high, thou shalt triumph over all thy foes." So, how am I going to endure it well? I am going to stop complaining. I am going to love the people. I am going to work my tail off. And I am going to seek after the love of my God everyday until the end of my days. 

I love you all. You mean a lot to me and I hope that you are well and happy. Remember that true happiness is to be found when we look up, and look out.

Elder Nielsen

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