Monday, March 25, 2013

Hello Family and Friends!

Things are REALLY heating up down here now. And, also, we visited an ancient temple ruin here in Morelos today! But more about all that later, because, first...impressions of Mexico!

1) So, gas in Mexico comes in tanks. Every time your gas runs out, you have to wait for the gas truck to drive buy the house so you can buy more gas and interchange the two tanks. You always know when it is driving by because of its loud sirens.

2) Water. As you know, it would be severely detrimental to your health if you drank water from the tap in Mexico. So, you have to buy purified water to drink from those big clear-plastic jugs. Twice a week a man drives a pick-up truck full of these jugs of water, shouting, "AGUA!" And that is when it is time to buy more water.

3) Trash. The trash collection here is very similar to water. We still do not know when it comes by but you better be ready when it does. You know it is coming when  someone starts ringing a bell outside of the house, shouting, "BASURA!". You then have to quickly gather your bags of trash, wait in line, and hand them to the man standing in the back of the pick up truck.

4) Seatbelts are completely obsolete. They actually make fun of you if you try to put one on.

5) Perception of the American Diet in Mexico: Pizza, Hamburgers, Hot Dogs. And that is all.

6) Speed Bumps are not only located in parking lots. They are located literally everywhere. Highways, normal streets, etc. Everywhere.

I literally love how some of the things that I do every week now are not even strange for me. It means that I am embracing the culture and becoming one with this people. I love it. And I love them.

Elder Lopez and I continue working super hard here in Yautepec. I love this pueblo and the members that live here. But being a missionary is extremely difficult sometimes. You always have to be on top of your game and try to be the best example you can to everyone that surrounds you. Because, literally, everyone is watching you (white person...Yautepec...white shirt and tie). The first impression a lot of people have of the church are the missionaries that represent it. I try to take advantage of this. Greet people always. Smile. Laugh. High-five little kids. Help people carry things in the street when they are struggling. Talk and have polite conversation. I feel like we are constantly planting seeds here in Yautepec. Trying to show a very traditional, Catholic pueblo that "Los Mormones" are good people that try their best to follow Jesus Christ and the example he set for us.

We are also starting an English class this week! The ward and the branch are combining in this effort. Given that I am the only missionary in Yautepec that speaks English...I will be giving the class. I am actually very excited! Elder Lopez and I made fliers and are getting the help of the members to plaster the fliers all over the pueblo!

Well. I just want to tell you all that I am so grateful for my Savior Jesus Christ. This week definitely had its challenges. But in a very special way, I felt love and support from both sides of the veil. I literally felt the power of your prayers. I know that this gospel is true. I know it with all of my heart and there is nothing that can take that knowledge away from me. No trial can take that knowledge away from me. I have felt during these 9 months as a missionary the hand of the Lord guiding me. He never lets up on me...because I have had much trial and opposition...but he also has never left me alone to walk in the dark. He lives.

I hope also that you all are doing well. That you are trying to help and serve others. Service has really changed me. Giving blessings to people, praying with them, and helping lighten their burdens has really lightened my burden. I hope that you are doing the same. I love you all very much. Until next week.

Elder Nielsen

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