Monday, June 24, 2013

Hello Family and Friends!
I hope that you all went to the missionary work broadcast yesterday! It was amazing. The Lord is truly speeding up his work and I am so grateful that I have the opportunity to serve a mission during this historic period! This week has been amazing for Elder Lopez and I! But before all of that...Impressions of Mexico! (And yes...I realized that I just used a lot of exclamation points, but I am so happy!)

Impressions of Mexico!

1) So in addition to the missionary work broadcast, this week was also the long-awaited soccer match between Brazil and Mexico. The moment the match started the pueblo literally shut down. The silence in the streets was thick. The only thing you could hear was the same sound of the commentaries about the soccer match from the windows of the houses as we passed by. Soccer > Life in Mexico. I heard that even the government stopped working to watch it. 

2) We are now officially in the rainy season. And when it rains. It rains. And also when it rains, it is more than probable that Elder Nielsen and Elder Lopez are stranded on a hill, drenched from head to foot, with nowhere to go. True story from this week.

3) Thankfully I still do not understand the nasty words in Spanish. I do not want my companions to teach me them or even tell me when people are saying them. The only thing they tell me is that little kids use them a lot when they are talking to me...oh.

Well. The first big announcement is that Eli was baptized this Saturday and confirmed on Sunday! His mom, named Concepcion, was a less-active member that we helped to reactivate. One day we went to teach her. She was not home but Eli was and he invited us in to talk. We taught him the Restoration and he immediately accepted a date to be baptized. Teaching him and seeing his faith grow has been a very rewarding experience for me. He wants to be a better person and leave his past mistakes behind. I had the opportunity to baptize him. The water was Titanic-cold but after he was baptized (and also after he was confirmed) he looked at me and told me that he felt so warm. That he felt different. He is going to begin his journey now in the gospel! I am so excited for him!

It is such an exciting time to be a missionary. I realize that I am about to complete a year in my missionary service and I just keep thinking about how fast time has passed by. I have truly learned so much and I felt my faith grow. I want people here in the pueblo to accept our message so badly. Because I know what it will do for them. It will change them. It will allow them to progress back towards their Heavenly Father. But more than anything, I have realized lately that the message that arrives closest to my heart, that I want everyone to know and understand is the power of the Atonement to change a man's heart. Think about it. Change is always possible. We can be better. We can be healed. We are understood and known. We are listened to and loved. We have someone that gave everything so that we could gain everything.
I know that I am known and loved. I wish to be faithful and valient until the very end. When we are loyal to God and the Savior, everything else just seems to work out. I know God lives. Jesus is the Christ. Families can be eternal. The power of the priesthood is real. The Church was restored through Joseph Smith. The Book of Mormon is the word of God. It is through the Atonement that we can have hope in gaining eternal life. This is my testimony. And I am so grateful that I have another year to share it as an authorized representative of Jesus Christ!

I love you all so much.
Elder Nielsen

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