Monday, February 4, 2013

Hello Family and Friends!

I hope that you are all doing really well! So yes. The rumors are true. I had "Cambios Especiales" this week because of the massive festival that is about to come to Tepalcingo in another three to four weeks. So, I am now emailing you from a pueblo in Morelos called Yautepec. It is between Cuautla and Cuernavaca and within the pueblo there is a ward and a branch. Elder Romero and I are in the branch. We are both just a tad stressed because neither of us know the area or the members, but we hope that we can learn together quickly! Actually, the President of our stake resides in our branch and we just finished having brunch with his family. Scrambled eggs and ham, hand-made tortillas, fresh fruit, beans, and quesadillas. I am now content. But first, how about a few impressions of Mexico?

1) So, apparently this week there was another Catholic festival in Tepalcingo. But for this one, the members had to carry around a very feminine-looking baby Jesus, sitting in a chair, dressed in what appeared to be a dress, with fairy wings. I know. I did not believe it at first either. But people just walked around all day with these things cradled in their arms.

2) Just a little culture for ya. We were waiting for the bus to take us to the house of a sister in the branch, when all of a sudden, down the street comes this girl dressed in a lime-green, poofy, and sparkly dress, holding a bouquet of roses. Behind her are about 15-20 boys dressed in suits. And behind them is a full-band of men playing Mariachi music. Can anyone say Quinciniera (almost 95% sure I spelt that wrong)?

3) We ate with Hermana Rafaela this week and all we talked about is how she likes to eat hot food. I literally do not understand. They say here that food does not have flavor unless it is burning hot. Then she proceeds to pull out this Chili that was literally the smallest chili that I have ever seen. She pokes her finger-nail into it to brake the skin and then tells me to just sniff it. I did and I literally started coughing because literally, just sniffing it burnt the inside of my nostrils. I apparently would die if I ate it (literally or metaphorically, I am not quite sure).

So there you go! More culture from Mexico. I hope that you are all very excited for the Impressions of Mexico, Version Yautepec!

So, this week was difficult. The baptism that we had planned fell through and basically every investigator that we had that was progressing stopped wanting to listen to us. We also had in the back of our minds the knowledge that we were going to have transfers as well. Overall, just tough. I began feeling, thinking, and asking my Heavenly Father why I was failing. What I was doing wrong. And why I was not having "success". Elder Romero told me something this week that impressed me, something that the former mission president had said. That it does not matter how many people you baptize (or if you baptize at all) or the positions of leadership that you attain, that all these things are secondary to the personal conversion that you experience.

I know that that is true. I have come to the conclusion that my mission experience, with all of the transfers, lack of baptisms, and relative lack of investigators is just as worth it as the mission experience of someone that baptizes 70. Because of the personal conversion that I am experiencing. The Lord is tutoring me and teaching me in very personal and intimate experiences daily. He has poured out knowledge and comfort into my soul and has allowed me to feel his love more profoundly. My love for the scriptures has deepened tremendously. My testimony of the gospel has grown. My ability to teach and testify has improved. And my love for my Savior is more real than before. God is with me. The Spirit is with me. And because they are with me, I know that I am okay. I asked God this week if he was proud of me, and a very strong impression came, in the form of a voice, saying, "I am so proud of you." That was beautiful to hear.

So. I continue working. I continue trying. I know that this week is going to be crazy and stressful but if I rely on the Lord and surrender to him, I know that I will be alright. Not just alright. I will be amazing. I love you all very much. Thank you for your letters (family, The Buckners, Gina, Kelsey), they lift me up weekly. I hope that we can all try to lift somebody else up this week and do our best to love more deeply.

Elder Nielsen

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