Sunday, July 21, 2013

Hello Family and Friends!
To start off...Impressions of Mexico!

1) There is a really famous gel here in Mexico called Gorilla Snot.

2) This week, one of the sisters that we were going to eat with was not home (a clear sign that she probably forgot) so we went with our neighbor and best friend Hna. Edith. We arrived, without notice, and she said, basically, "I do not have a lot, but I will just have to whip you up something quick." Now. In the United States that would mean fast food or Mac n' Cheese or a sandwich. Here in Mexico, that meant flavored water, lentil soup, tortillas, chicken with mole, and beans. You can start to see why I love being here.

3) Missionary Lingo: The Elder or Sister you train is your son or daughter and you are their dad or mom. When you are the companion of and elder or sister that is about to finish their mission you "kill them". About four months before you are about to finish your mission everyone starts to call you "muerto" or, basically "dead". Sometimes as missionaries we do not think about how our conversations would sound to those that do not understand these terms. Hermana Pech and I got a lot of weird looks from people in the small, cramped bus that we ride back to Yautepec when I asked her if she was about to receive her second or third daughter in the mission and when she asked me if I had killed Elder Miguel in Iguala.
This week was tough for Elder Lopez and I. But there were also some huge bright spots. We had dropped a family that we were teaching because they had stopped progressing. But had the feeling that we should contact them two weeks ago to see how they were doing. They were so excited to see us and expressed desires to start learning again. They have come to church two weeks in a row, the Mom has stopped drinking coffee and paid tithing for the first time on Sunday. They are starting to exercise their faith and I can see their desire to be baptized and to change growing. I hope that I will have more good news about them next week!

Something that I have seen a lot on my mission is the absolute fear that people have of changing. It either appears impossible, too difficult, or not worth the time and effort to most people. Some people have even fallen into the trap of thinking that it is unjust to ask people to change and repent because they were born that way, live that way, and will die that way. I was reading in Isaiah this week a verse that says that the mountains will depart and the hills shall be removed but my kindness shall not depart, and the covenant of my peace shall not be removed. God has called each and every one of us to pass through periods in our lives when mountains need to be leveled and hills need to be removed. We must repent. We must change. We must all go through the healing process of the Atonement. But the Savior has promised us that through his mercy, grace, and peace; we will have the strength to handle and endure those trying moments. They are so trying but so worth it. If we have the courage to change, God blesses us with the strength to overcome those mountains and challenges. He grants us peace as he removes those hills. I testify of that.
I know that Christ lives. His Atonement requires us to sacrifice and change. He calls us to repentance so that we will one day stand pure and clean before him and our Heavenly Father. I am so grateful for the promise that if I am obedient and give all of myself, including the willingness to change, that I will one day be with my family, my Savior, and my Father in Heaven forever. So I will continue to depend on the Lord for everything, and then strive to serve him with all my heart, might, mind, and strength.

I love you all so very much.
Elder Nielsen

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