Monday, August 19, 2013

Hello Family and Friends!

Well, I am sitting here in an internet cafe in Cuautla awaiting the arrival of my new companion. His name is Elder Albizo and he is from Ciudad Juarez! I think that he has about 9 or 10 months in the mission field. I am excited to meet him. And yes, that means that I had to say goodbye to Elder Lopez this morning. We were together for almost six months in the branch and I am going to miss him a ton. It is like sending your kid off to college but I am confident that he is going to continue doing amazing things in the mission field. I can truly say that I love him as a companion, brother, and friend. And yes, that also means that I will be in Yautepec for another transfer! My sixth transfer to be exact. I arrived in the pueblo on February 3rd and this transfer ends September 30th. Basically 8 months by the end of this transfer! I say it every week, but, I have truly grown to love the members in this little branch. They are literally SO weird and funny. But I have just learned to laugh and be patient. They are human just like me. We all make mistakes and we all have a ton that we still need to learn. So we just have to work hard together and make the best of the of the not-so-great situations. I am excited for this transfer!

Impressions of Mexico!

1) In some parts of indigineous Mexico, to ask for the hand of a young girl, you have to bring a large banana and four cartons of beer. And if they say yes, they have to bring the family of the husband four cartons of soda. I thought that it was strange when I first heard it as well.

2) Another bit of gossip that I heard about us this week is that we purposely go and look for single people to teach and baptize so that we can marry them to other single people that we have taught and baptized :0

3) I have literally seen people enter stores and say that they are so thirsty and that they want to buy water. They then proceed to pull out their soda of preference from the refrigerator.  Soda = Water.

This week has been a little slow missionary work wise in the branch. We did not find a lot of new people to teach and there was a ton of opposition but I am confident that things will pick up with my new companion. During my personal studies I have studied a lot about the repentance process. It is literally so beautiful. The chance that each and every one of us have to change and be better. Sure, it takes a little bit of teeth-gritting and a lot of prayer and trust that Heavenly Father will help us change, but we all have to start by believing that change is possible. That our habits, ways of thinking, and actions can become aligned with Christ. We have taught so many less-actives and investigators that refuse to accept that change is possible. There are others that desire to change so badly but believe that they can never receive forgiveness or that the feelings of guilt that they experience can never be swept away. I know that they can be. I know that people can change. I have started with myself and have seen miracles occur when I trust in my Heavenly Father. I know that we can all draw closer to the Savior daily if we desire to do so. The Atonement is real and allows us to make these changes. I was reading this week in the Book of Mormon the story of Abinadi. He testified so boldly of the Savior until his death. I imagine that he knew what was coming, and the way that they were going to kill him, yet, he continued to tell them what he knew to be true, simply because he was obedient and he knew that he had to share it. I want to be more bold like him and like the other prophets that testified of Christ in the Bible and Book of Mormon. They were willing to put everything on the line, including their lives because they knew that this was the only path that men could follow that would bring them true happiness in this world and in the eternities. I also think that they loved their fellow man so much that they were willing to sacrifice everything so that they could gain everything. That is what Abinadi did, and that is what every single one of us needs to do. I am learning that more and more each day as a missionary.

Anyway, I love you all so much. I know this is the Church of Jesus Christ. I know God loves me and I know that he puts plans in place to save his children. I know that our trials and weaknesses are hand-picked for each and every one of us. I know that if we trust in God, all things are possible. He answers prayers. He is real and so actively-involved in our process of conversion and salvation. I hope that we can all learn to trust in him a little more day by day. I love you all and will let you know how my new companion is next week!

Elder Nielsen

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