Monday, February 25, 2013

Hello Family and Friends!

I hope that you are all doing splendidly well and that you are all very happy. Well, this week the carnival ended in Yautepec, therefore, my life has somewhat returned to a sense of normalcy. But here you go, some impressions of Mexico.

1) So, this week we did a service project for a sister in the branch named Hermana Edith. And the service project was this...go out to her strawberry field in the middle of all of the farmland that surrounds Yautepec and handpick strawberries. Because I realized on scene that my camera did not have any battery left, I will just have to paint a mental picture for you all. Elder Nielsen, jeans and t-shirt, torn piece of burlap sack tied to his waist with a wicker basket hanging off of either hip, barefoot with so much mud impacted between his toes that he could not squeeze them together, picking strawberries. It was so much fun! The only part that was not that cool was when one of the farm dogs started to run away with one of my shoes. Thankfully we were able to retrieve it. By the time Elder Romero and I finished one row, her actual workers had completed themselves. 

2) Milk comes in boxes. Also, it is optional whether or not you wish to put your milk in a refrigerator. 

3) Sometimes I just walk down the street, look up, and there is a man, riding a straight-up donkey, herding cattle, and heading in my direction.

4) We were walking to an appointment this week which forced us to walk through the flee market. I saw a table. Covered with flies. And as I approached the said table, I saw dead chickens. That only had their feathers removed. I mean, head, beak, feat, everything was still in tact. I think it was the first time that I have gotten nauseous here.

5) The word "fetch" is big here in Mexico. I am sorry, I just cannot take that word seriously after seeing a certain movie with Lindsey Lohan. Now everytime Elder Becerra sees me, knowing my disgust for the word, he tells me, "Tu corbata es tan fetch" or "Your tie is so fetch". No puede ser.

So, this is the final week for Elder Romero as a missionary. He leaves for Cuernavaca on Friday, so for Friday, Saturday, and Sunday I will be staying with Elder Abernathy and Elder Becerra in Yautepec (the ward, not the branch). I am sad. He is the first companion that I have had in the mission field that I am really going to miss. He taught me what it meant to work hard, but also have fun. He was funny, complimentary, and has developed such a strong testimony of the church despite some very significant challenges that he has had in his life. He is an example to me.

I am so grateful for the opportunity that I have to be a missionary. I absolutely love it. It is harder than heck, but it is definitely the greatest thing that I have ever done. In an effort to help others become converted unto Christ and his gospel, I am becoming converted in deeper and more intimate ways on a daily basis. I love my Savior Jesus Christ and his Atonement. I have come to know (intellectually, emotionally, and spiritually) that he is the Savior of my soul. He loves me. Through it all, I know that he loves me. And he is changing me, day by day. It is difficult to describe what this process has been like for me. The best way to describe it would be to say that he is constantly beckoning me to follow him. Come to me. Learn of me. Be like me. Love me. And then give that love to others. Make others feel and know that they are important. Help them know that I love them. Serve them. Teach them. Befriend them. Seek to understand them. Let go of yourself and be what I need you to be. Be my disciple. Feed my sheep.

Everyday I leave and I want so much to be more like him. How he taught. How he loved. How he served. He humbled himself. How he sacrificed everything for me and for everyone else. I am not perfect. Everyday I come home and the list of things to improve never seems to change or get any shorter, but the sweetest thing that I receive on a daily basis is the feeling that, everything will be okay. You are fine. You are more than fine. I love you. You are not weak or ineffectual. You are my son, and I love you. Now, improve, and go spread that love to others.

I love this church so much. It is the true church of God and everytime I think about the gospel, how perfect it is, how beautiful it is, and what it has done for me, those feelings of excitement surge inside of me and I want everyone to know what I know and feel as I feel. Please share the gospel. I just want to close out this letter with some of the comments that Jeffrey R. Holland said during General Conference, I hope that they will inspire you to do, what we have all covenanted to do at baptism.

"What I need, Peter, are disciples—and I need them forever. I need someone to feed my sheep and save my lambs. I need someone to preach my gospel and defend my faith. I need someone who loves me, truly, truly loves me, and loves what our Father in Heaven has commissioned me to do. Ours is not a feeble message. It is not a fleeting task. It is not hapless; it is not hopeless; it is not to be consigned to the ash heap of history. It is the work of Almighty God, and it is to change the world. So, Peter, for the second and presumably the last time, I am asking you to leave all this and to go teach and testify, labor and serve loyally..."

"...Did you, like they, think that this work could be killed simply by killing me? Did you, like they, think the cross and the nails and the tomb were the end of it all and each could blissfully go back to being whatever you were before? Children, did not my life and my love touch your hearts more deeply than this?”
Feed my Sheep. I love you all.

Elder Nielsen

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