Tuesday, December 25, 2012

¡Feliz Navidad!

Hello family and friends! Merry Christmas! I hope that you are all doing extremely well and enjoying the Holidays!

Impressions of Mexico!

1) Let me preface this story by saying that it is very common here in Mexico to greet others by giving them a kiss on the cheek. So we were sitting in a family home evening and our seventeen year old female investigator walks in. I reach out my hand to shake hers and we shake hands. I then turn my head to look at something, expecting her to go shake the hand of my companion. Before I know it, she lays one on my cheek. My companion cannot stop laughing and I am literally in shock.

2) Toasters do not exist here. If you want toasted bread you need to go to the store and buy "pre-toasted" bread called Pan Tostado. 

3) My companion and I were walking back to our apartment with our laundry and awkwardly ran into a HUGE procession of Catholics hoisting an image of the virigin Mary, chanting some song, and they were all holding candles. They all stared at us as we waited for them to pass.

4) The Mexican people put salsa/chili on literally everything. Fruit (super popular), popcorn, potato chips, etc.

5) President Kusch gave us the new composition of the mission after the new changes. Right now we have 190 missionaries, after the changes we will have: 90 Latino Elders, 60 American Elders. 100 Sister Missionaries. Wow.

6) This week we had a Christmas Conference with the mission president and his wife during the which we did Christmas skits, White Elephant, ate, and had a devotional. It was actually super fun! Today we will be eating with the large Mormon family called the Torres family. What is traditional in Mexico on Christmas is to work on the 24, have a huge dinner/fiesta with your family during the night. And then basically do nothing on the 25 except take the day off from work. Traditional food: Turkey, Cold Apple Salad, Bread, some type of Cake.

So there is a little something for you all!

Just one spiritual experience that I would like to share with you all. Yesterday we were walking down the street towards the house of a less-active sister that we wanted to visit with. We ran into another sister that we know really well called Hermana Lina. She told us that she was bringing food to her sister, who is also a member, and asked us if we would visit her with her. We said yes and went. We entered into the house and that was when I saw Hermana Merced for the first time. She was so small. Skin and bones and very weak looking. She was lying on her back on a bed in the middle of the room. It was super hard for her to speak and she could not move. Hermana Lina told me that people rarely visited her and that she basically just lied on her back all day on this bed. I cannot describe in words how much love I felt for this woman. I just felt so much compassion for her. I had the beautiful opportunity to sit on her bed, lay my hands upon her head and give her a blessing of comfort. Even though she could not speak to me, I felt the Spirit so strongly. Almost more palbably than I had ever before felt it in my life. Just pure love for her. Just a small degree of the type of love Christ feels for her. This was one of the best Christmas presents I have ever received. The opportunity to bless this amazing woman who I know God loves very much. I was sad to leave. I just sort of stroked her hair and said "Bye, bye Sweetie" and left with a huge lump in my throat. I will never forget this experience as long as I live. How blessed we are to have these moments in our lives when we can feel pure joy and experience just a small part of the love God has for others.

I love you all. And I know that true love and joy is only to be found when we are serving our fellow man.

Elder Nielsen

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