Monday, May 13, 2013

Hello Family and Friends!
This week has been very fulfilling for me. I have learned a whole heck of a ton and have grown a lot. But before all that...impressions of Mexico!
1) I have finally, and successfully, put together a list of common nicknames here in Mexico and would like now to share them with you all.

A) Fransisco: Pancho or Paco B) Jesús: Chucho or Chuy C) Alberto: Beto D) Enrique: Quique (My Favorite) E) Luis: Guicho
F) Alfonso: Poncho G) José: Pepe H) Ezekiel: Cheque

2) So you know how in Africa the women sometimes walk around with pots of water on their heads? Well, in Mexico, it is the same, but with hats filled with sweet bread. Little boys will go around from house to house with a sombrero filled with bread shouting "Pan!" "Pan!"

3) The Area Presidency has recently laid down the law that every missionary that does not speak English is now required to learn it. Well, I, being the only Gringo in our district, have suddenly been transformed into an English teacher. And they all want to practice with me. The nightly conversation with my District Leader usually goes exactly like this (Imagine the following in extremely broken English).

D.L. - Hello? Me: Hello? D.L. - How are you? Me: I am fine and how are you? D.L. - Good. Thanks. And you? Me: Fine. D.L. Are you in home? Me: Yes. D.L. - *Starts to say something in English again, pauses, and then reverts to Spanish for the rest of the conversation.

4) Our recent convert named Gemma told us that her neighbor told her that she was praying for, because she had noticed that she had been talking to, and I quote, "Servants sent from Satan to deceive you". We are planning on contacting her neighbor later this week.

5) Mexicans get offended everytime you describe them as Latins. They are not Latins. They are Mexicans.
I have started to read Doctrine and Covenants this week and have been loving it! I read these verses this week in the 19th Section.

"Therefore I command you to repent—repent, lest I smite you by the rod of my mouth, and by my wrath, and by my anger, and your sufferings be sore—how sore you know not, how exquisite you know not, yea, how hard to bear you know not. For behold, I, God, have suffered these things for all, that they might not suffer if they would repent; But if they would not repent they must suffer even as I; Which suffering caused myself, even God, the greatest of all, to tremble because of pain, and to bleed at every pore, and to suffer both body and spirit—and would that I might not drink the bitter cup, and shrink—Nevertheless, glory be to the Father, and I partook and finished my preparations unto the children of men."

I was reading these verses and suddenly started to get very emotional. My understanding of my calling as a missionary and as a member of the Church grew. I thought about what people will have to go through in the next life if they do not repent. If they do not use the Atonement of Christ during their lives. I thought about the beauty of the Atonement. It´s promise of Restoration and of Healing to our souls. It is literally the promise, that if we prove faithful, that we will be able to return to live with our Father in Heaven again, proven, pure, and ready to receive what he has waiting for us. How selfish it would be of me to not "waste and wear out" my life in order to bring this message to as many will hear me.
Well, here in the mission field I continue learning and growing. I am learning a little more, day by day, how to be a disciple of Christ and how to accept the timing of God in everything that happens. Sometimes it is so hard to accept weakness, disappointment, and failure. But I know that I have to do it. God strengthens me through my trials and weaknesses. But I have also learned recently that we also need to recognize how far we have really come. Our talents and qualities. Everything that is good about us. And then go about the work of healing and improving through the Atonement.

I love my Savior. Jesus is the Christ. He lives. He loves us. I will forever be grateful for him for the opportunity that he has given me to be a missionary. And for the life, family, and friends that he has blessed me with. The Atonement is real. It is through this sacrifice that I can heal and become whole again. I know that, one day, I will stand before my Savior and Redeemer. One day I will know, perfectly, his love for me. I so look forward to that day.
I love you all.

Elder Nielsen

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