Monday, July 29, 2013

Hello Family and Friends!
This week was both hard and wonderful. But I feel like that is usually how it is as a missionary. Every week has its challenges. But I also learn many new and valuable things that help me grow.

Impressions of Mexico!
1) There is one little combi (like a small little car used for public transport) that goes from Yautepec to Cuautla (the main city that is close by). Because there is only one, it is always (ALWAYS) packed to the brim with people and the things they are carrying to and from Cuautla (I have seen buckets full of chilis, tomatoes, flan, etc.). The seats get taken up first and if you are really in a hurry and all the seats are taken, you have to stand (very difficult for me because I am about a foot taller than the ceiling and have to bend my neck in an awkward position the entire 45 minute ride). My favorite is contacting people in combis because everyone just sits in silence and glares at one another and so when I start to talk to people everyone immediately turns and looks at me and listens to what I have to say!

2) The sister missionaries in my district were chased down in their area by a herd of angry bulls and had to sprint and hide in a ditch until they passed by (literally I think the toughest sister missionaries serve in Mexico). And Elder Lopez and I had to wait to cross the street as a 90 year old woman was herding a group of a 100 goats with rod.

3) This week someone gave Elder Lopez and I water from the tap and we both had what they lovingly call here "The Double Dragon". To be discreet, it is when you are really sick and your body tries to get rid of the trash in your stomach from both ends at the same time.
So, just to let you all know, the baptism did not work out with the family this week. We were pretty disappointed but that is how it goes sometimes. I have learned a whole ton about agency from working with this family. They have had so many spiritual experiences. God has answered them so many times in pretty miraculous ways that this church is true. But they still chose to not make the right decision. I know that I really love them because I was disappointed when they said no and so wanted them to make the right choice. But God gave us the gift to choose. And even though they said no, I have also felt and experienced absolute joy when my investigators say yes. And I am going to continue searching for those children that are ready to accept the restored gospel in their lives.

Elder Lopez and I now have to start building from scratch again. We need to start finding new people to teach. While Elder Lopez was dying from the stomach flu this week I had the chance to reflect on a few things that really helped me gain clarity on what God would have us do during our lives. I saw in my mind's eye a closed fist. It was tight. Stressed. Tired. I realized that that fist was me when I rely on myself and on my own strength (something that I still do a lot as a missionary). It is that part of me that wants to control everything and wants every outcome to be exactly as I would have it be. And when it does not happen I try to tighten my control, but it will never make me happy. Then in my mind's eye I saw myself slowly relaxing my hand and letting go, and immediately another hand grasped onto my hand. It filled me with so much happiness, peace, and security. I know that that hand represents my Heavenly Father, my Savior, and the Holy Ghost. I need to learn to let go and rely on them completely. I had the impression that a lot of the time I am beating against a brick wall, trying to do everything on my own, when they are begging me to let go of that necessity and allow them to guide me to where I need to be through revelation. I am going to improve that this week. I am going to let them guide me. It makes me feel vulnerable, but I also know that when I do it, I will feel the most peace and satisfaction possible.
I am so grateful for the lessons that my Father in Heaven teaches me every week. I love feeling his love and that he his proud of me. There is nothing else that I would rather have. I know God lives. This gospel is very real to me now. Even more real than it was before. The Atonement has and will continue to change me. I love Mexico. I love the people here. I love working amongst them and experiencing life the way they have always known it. Jesus is the Christ. The Savior and Redeemer of mankind. I love being a missionary! I love you all so much and hope that you feel the love of your Father in Heaven every single day as well.

Elder Nielsen

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