Monday, July 8, 2013

Hello Family and Friends!
So we got our call pertaining to transfers on Saturday night....and....Elder Lopez and I will be staying here in Yautepec, together, for another transfer! It is our fourth transfer as companions! The members have been telling us that we should start looking for our own plot of land here in the pueblo. We are going to start looking into that. But first...Impressions of Mexico!

1) Summer vacations are super short here in Mexico. The kids are just starting to finish classes right now and they have to go back in mid-August. Sad.

2) This week, during one of our meals, Elder Lopez bit into a jalapeƱo chili and the juice squirted directly into my eye. Like directly and the velocity was high. I spent 10 minutes washing my eye out with cold water, and when I returned, all he told me was that I was lucky it was not a Habanero because I would have died...

3) I have been asked repeatedly (but repeatedly) if I color my hair and if my eyes are natural. They honestly do not believe that my hair and eyes are natural. It is my favorite when I see Mexican women, morenitas (very dark skin), with beach blonde hair. Natural. Very natural. It happens a lot. Everyone wants to be blonde.
I want to share with you all the best ways that I have found in getting people to talk with me about the restored gospel.

Situation: Elder Nielsen and Elder Lopez are walking towards the house of an active member that they have known for months. They see a woman hanging her clothes to dry on a clothes-line outside of her house and want to talk with her but do not know how to start the conversation.
Solution: Act like you are lost and ask for directions or if they know where the member you are about to visit lives.

The solution is always to act like you are lost. Ask them if they know the street or the person that you are looking for, and then slowly ease your way into a conversation. Other solutions: Ask them for a cup of water. Tell them that you would like to offer a prayer with them and their family for "a minute", etc. I have gotten very good at sweet-talking people into talking with us. I love talking with the Mexican people. They are so humble and so open. You really get to know them well within the first 10 minutes because they love telling you about their lives. What they have seen. What they have gone through. And with complete strangers. I love it. I want to be more open like them.
I am very tired. Like, physically exhausted. But very peaceful and content. I have begun to read the Book of Mormon again from the beginning. But this time, paying very close attention to every passage that talks about Christ and his Atonement. I want everyone I meet to understand the healing power of the Atonement. That through that sacrifice, we obtain mercy and grace. If we prove to be faithful, obedient, and strive to develop the attributes of Christ, we can one day stand before God, purified, clean, proven, worthy, and refined. It is through his sacrifice that we know that death is not the end. That this life is just a short test of our willingness to endure to the end, develop faith, and be obedient. I want so badly to help other people understand that. What we do in this life matters. It is of eternal consequence the decisions that we make. I see so many, that are so young, but they have just given up trying. They live just to live. Life is so much more than that. We live to grow and become better. And that growth comes from complete reliance on the Savior and his Atonement.

I know God lives. Jesus is the Christ. I cannot wait for the day that I will see him. I know he loves me. He is so merciful with me because I am so imperfect. I know that death is not the end of existence. I know that this church is true and that the Book of Mormon is the word of God.
I love you all so much. And I hope you all have an amazing week!

Elder Nielsen
P.S. The picture is of me, starting to eat the largest lemon that I have ever seen in my life.

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