Tuesday, April 2, 2013

Hello Family and Friends!

Well, this week was tough. I am pretty sick in my stomach. We hardly left to work this week actually for that very same reason. Today the mission doctor assigned me some antibiotics that I can take so I hope that I improve quickly so that I can begin working again! 

Impressions of Mexico!

1) You always know when someone has passed away in Mexico because they close off the street where this person lives, set up 50 or so folding chairs, and have a Catholic Religious Ceremony. Then, after the ceremony is finished, the people just sit there in silence.

2) So, because I have been ill almost the entire week, the word has obviously gotten around to the sisters in the branch. The cool thing here is that the members treat the missionaries like their own children. They have been bringing me chicken soup, strange drinks and teas that will supposedly make me feel better immediately, pills that I have never seen before, etc. I really have felt loved by them this week.

3) When I was feeling a little better, we went out for an hour or two to some of the appointments we had. One of them was a family home evening and, of course, they prepared sandwiches, cake, etc. Well, you should all know by now the relationship that the Mexian people have with food.  Even though they knew that I was sick, they still kept trying to offer me the sandwich (which had beans and cheese on it...not the best thing to give to a nauseous person). Then when I held my ground on the sandwich, they moved onto fruit, parts of the sandwich, orange juice, etc. They would not give up. So I finally just told them to make a sandwich for me that I could take home. This finally appeased the sisters and I left unscathed.

Well, as I said at the beginning of the email, this week has been tough. It is the worst when you want to go out and work but you cannot because you are not physically able to do so. I spent a lot of time thinking about my Savior. And his Atonement. I had the thought that, during the Atonement, he also suffered our physical diseases and illnesses. He knows exactly how I have felt this past week. Therefore, he is the only one that can succor my soul and bring peace. 

I just want to bear testimony to you all that he lives! Jesus Christ is the Savior and Redeemer of the World. I love him so much. I am putting in my best effort here but a lot of the time I feel so inadequate. So unfit for the task. I know that through the Atonement, every weakness that I want to change can and will be changed. I really love this quote that is in the movie 17 Miracles, "We know that through thy power what is small and weak may become great and significant." I have really felt the truth of those words this week. I want so badly to be more like him. To put everything on the line for him and for others. I have been thinking a lot about consecration this week as well. That the Lord asks us to give everything we have to help him. I feel like for the first time in my life, I am actually consecrating, or giving everything I have to my Heavenly Father and Savior.

I know that we have trials for wise reasons and purposes as well. Henry B. Eyring in a Conference Address called "Mountains to Climb" talked about his mother and how she suffered with cancer for 10 years before finally passing away. He said that the prophet spoke at her funeral and said that this trial she had was not because she had made a mistake in the past that deserved a punishment, rather, Heavenly Father just wanted her to be polished just a little more before calling her home again. I like that idea. That every challenge we have in life is our Heavenly Father polishing us, perfecting us, and refining us. He has to purge every imperfection or we cannot live in his presence. 

Just some thoughts that I have been having this week. Again, I bear testimony that Jesus Christ lives. He was resurrected. There is life after death. There is meaning to everything that happens during our lives. That he loves us all so very much. And that through him we can be made great and significant.

Savior, Redeemer of my soul. Whose mighty hands, have made me whole. Whose wonderous power hath raised me up. And filled with sweet my bitter cup. What tongue my gratitude can tell. Oh gracious God of Israel. Never can I repay thee Lord. But I can love thee, thy pure word. Hath it not been, my one delight. My joy by day, my dream by night. Then let my lips proclaim it still, and all my life reflect thy will. Overrule my acts to serve thy ends. Change frowning foes to smiling friends. Chasten my soul till I shall be, in perfect harmony with thee. Make me worthy of thy love. And fit me for the life above.

Elder Nielsen

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