Monday, April 15, 2013

Hello Family and Friends!

Well I have actually been feeling pretty exhausted physically this last week. I think that the time change had something to do with it. But Elder Lopez and I are continuing the fight here in Lomas del Real, Yautepec!

Impressions of Mexico!

1) So, when the farmers and people that work in the field here in Mexico want to get rid of plants that are unneeded, they burn them. Unfortunately for the missionaries, this causes a periodic "rain" of charred plant that falls from the sky and lands on our white shirts. If you touch it or try to wipe it off, it will only stain your shirt so you literally have to blow it off of you.
2) Shorts are just not popular here. It can be like over 100 degrees and the humidity could be sky-rocketing through the roof but everyone here is still determined to put on their pants.
3) Every Saturday here in Yautepec they have a street market in one of the colonias in our area and sometimes we have to pass through it in order to go to an appointment. The people selling are constantly shouting out the prices trying to lure people over and convince them that their dead chickens (complete with head and feet) are better than the dead chickens that the other guy is selling two booths over. Well, when we pass through, all of the people stop shouting the prices and start shouting "white boy, look at these beautiful hamocs" or "white boy, look at these beautiful strawberries" etc. People in Mexico think that the Mormon Missionaries = Walking ATMs.

Just a few more impressions and thoughts about the country that I am growing to love more and more each and every week that I am here. Literally, I am going to miss this country when I return. The food, people, and basically just the culture in general sink into me a little more every week. I love the Mexican people. Something that I honestly could not say at the beginning of my mission. But with time, as my ability grew to communicate and as I prayed for charity and love every night during my prayers, my Heavenly Father has blessed me with the love that I have been seeking. I know that I have definitely been called here for a reason.

This morning I was studying in Alma 32 in the Book of Mormon and thinking a lot about my faith and where it is at. I began to think about my mission and everything that has happened so far to me. I remembered a prayer that I had during my first transfer in the mission field. I do not know if you all remember my first companion, but, he definitely was a test for me. I remembered that one day I had had enough. Literally I was ready to throw in the towel. I felt like I was tied, tightly. Like I had no way out and no source of help. I was scared because I could not speak Spanish or understand anyone and did not feel like I was receiving any help from my trainer. I remember that we were talking and I left the room that we were in, feeling angry, confused, and once again, tied down. I remember that I went into the other room and kneeled down at the table and began to pray. All I remember saying was that I did not know what to do. That I needed help. After I had made this admission, that I needed help, the sweetest feelings of peace poured over my body and filled me up. I remember that I felt empowered in the exact moment that I had made a declaration of my weakness and my inability to resolve the problems I had and face what seemed like the insurmountable mountains that I had to climb. I felt strong in my weakness and I felt freed even though the trials had not been taken away.

My Heavenly Father has definitely taught me in my weakness. He has shown me that he loves me perfectly and knows me perfectly. A lot of times I fall in the trap of asking, "Why is this happening to me? I deserve something different." But while I was studying and reading the last verses of this chapter when it talks about the need to care for our faith with great diligence and patience, and that one day, we will see the fruits of our labors, I was filled with peace. Just with the knowledge that if I am giving it my all. If I truly am sacrificing and striving to become more like my Savior daily and giving every ounce of energy that I have, then I am alright. Everything is alright.

Well, I love you all very much. I say this every week but it is so true. I love you and want the best for you. I know that Christ lives. He is the Savior and Redeemer of mankind. I love him so much. Through his Atonement I can change everything. I can become what my Heavenly Father knows I can become. I know that there is a plan for me. I do not know what this plan is, but I know that it exists. And I know that if I remain faithful, that every promised blessing will come. Every sacrifice will be worth it. I just know it and feel it. This is the work of my Heavenly Father and it will always roll forward.

Thank you for your love and prayers. I feel them and you need to know that they strengthen me. I hope that you all feel my love for you as well.

Elder Nielsen

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