Monday, August 26, 2013

Hello Family and Friends!

So I am here with my new companion Elder Albizo. He keeps trying to convince me that his native city, Ciudad Juarez, is not dangerous. Sorry. I am not going to buy that. I have heard too many things already. But he is very nice. A little reserved, but a great, hard-working, obedient missionary. And that is what I wanted!

Impressions of Mexico (again, if I repeat, I am sorry. It has been 14 months after all)!

1) Mexican drivers are not afraid to use the horn. Literally if traffic is blocked for even 5 seconds, EVERY single driver of the cars, buses, and taxis start to lay on their horn until the traffic starts moving again (I would like to see what their reaction would be on the 91 freeway at 5 pm).

2) It is not uncommon to see nuns and Catholic priests walking around in their robes in the middle of the street.

3) If a local hotel or motel has air conditioning then it is considered nice. Very nice.

4) Dryers, like to dry your clothes, do not exist. Your dryer is the sun. And if it rains, and you are not home to get your clothes into the house quickly, then you are out of luck. That has happened to me on more than one occasion. And it will happen again.

So, just like I thought it would happen, things have been picking up here in the branch! I love the way Elder Albizo teaches. He thinks about everything he says and always says what needs to be said instead of just talking or speaking empty words. There is meaning behind everything. I have much to learn from my new companion. We have also been teaching a new family that came to church yesterday and have been picking up other great new investigators! I know that the Lord has been blessing us because we are united as a companionship and have a desire to serve others. We have been bolder. We have been contacting more people during the day. And we are happy. Not without our difficulties and concerns. But happy and content with where we are and where we are going.

Last night as we were returing traveling home from Cuautla to Yautepec, I started to think about a scripture that is very famous but that has always meant so much to me. 

"And if men come unto me I will show unto them their weakness. I give unto men weakness that they may be humble; and my grace is sufficient for all men that humble themselves before me; for if they humble themselves before me, and have faith in me, then will I make weak things become strong unto them."

I have met so many people that have told me that their lives were easier before they were baptized. That everything started to go wrong when they became members of the church. And so, they preferred to leave. Stop believing. And take the easy road in this life. A path that is so easy to follow because it does not require change or growth. It does not require sacrifice or even the acceptance of the fact that there is something greater than just the individual with his or her worldly cares and values. I know that there are things greater than myself. I have been so humbled as a missionary. Honestly, before my mission, I thought that I would come to the mission field and knock 'em dead. Tons of baptisms. Tons of investigators. That I would be that perfect missionary from the get-go. When things did not work out like that. When problems started to arise and I started to come to the realization that I still had so much growth to experience and so much more to learn, I started to get discourged. I was angry that I could not be perfect. Special. The best teacher. The most "successful" missionary. The Lord quickly began to show me my weaknesses and the necessity that I had to rely on him completely. When we come to him, he shows us our weaknesses. But I can testify now, as a missionary that has been humbled in so many ways, that he shows us our weaknesses because he so desires that we have greater faith in him. He prepared a Savior before this world came into existence. He has provided a way for us to return to live with him again. Faith and repentance. Trust and submission. Loving, serving, and looking-outward. Then, when we trust in Christ and demostrate that trust through our actions and obedience to the commandments, our weaknesses become strong unto us. He does not take away the weakness. But we become stronger because of the weakness we have been given. We realize that we would never reach exaltation and eternal life without that specific set of weaknesses. We realize, as I did, that God lovingly gave us that weakness, as a gift, so that we could live with out families eternally and with those we love in his presence. I will never complain again for the weaknesses that I have. I am a better man and missionary because of them. And I am content with my mission and my life. 

I love my Savior Jesus Christ. I love my Heavenly Father. I love being a missionary. I try my best to truly enjoy every single day of my mission. I am trying to be more grateful and content every day. I testify that Christ lives. He lives. This life, well, is hard. But there is so much beauty in it as well. Sometimes we get so entrenched in the mud that surrounds us. In the mundane and unimportant things. To be more happy, I think that we should all look a little more for the spiritual in the things that surround us. I need to learn to trust more. Complete trust will guide us back to our Father in Heaven.

I love you all so very much.

Elder Nielsen

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