Hello Family and Friends!Happy Mexican Independance! I have already told you all how the Mexican people love and know how to throw a good party. Well...you can pretty much guess then how their "4th of July" would be. They hated Spain just as much as we hated Great Britain. Parades, gun shots and what sounded like cannons going off yesterday night at midnight, flags waving from every house, etc. I love Mexico so much.
Impressions of Mexico!1) Gel is heavily overused in Mexico. Women. Men. Children. Sometimes I think people wake up in the morning, stick their hands in the gel jar and scoop out a nice big handful of gel and just plop it on their heads. They have hair of steel.
2) People have told me, and I have also seen on many occasions, the fury of a Latina. You do not mess with them. They are the funnest people to be around, but when they get mad...beware.
3) As I am writing here there are many, more or less intoxicated people running around in the street shouting "¡Viva México! ¡Viva México!". It has been a fun weekend.
I do not have a lot of time to write today, but I just wanted to share some thoughts that I had this week. A week that truly has been very important to me both on a personal level and as my service as a missionary. Someone made a comment during church this week that went something like this, "We are all trying to return to live with our Heavenly Father again. I mean, who would not like to return to live with God again right?" For the first time, I truly thought about that statement, a statement that I have heard my entire life. I think a lot of us would like to return to live with him again, but when we hear or think about the price that will have to be paid to make it there, then we turn away and refuse to think about it. There are so many people that I have talked with and taught that have said they would love to return to live with their Heavenly Father, but when they hear about the commandments, obedience, repentance, and sacrifice, they choose to take a different path. They choose a path that is easy, satisfying in the now, and that just basically pacifies themselves for the time being. They refuse to think about the eternal and would rather just live life how they have always known it to be. I know and testify that the only way to return to live with God again is through obedience to his commandments and living the gospel of Jesus Christ. I want to live with God again. I realize how much still awaits me. I realize how much I will have to give if I want to make it. I love helping people realize what they need to do in order to be there. I love seeing people change. Repent. And have their faith grow in the Savior. Like this family we are teaching. I love them so much because they are accepting the commandments, repenting, and changing. Their countenances have changed. They are happier. They are more peaceful. They are feeling the Spirit and the love of their Heavenly Father.
I do not know exactly what the Celestial Kingdom will be like. I cannot comprehend what it would be like to be in the presence of God, my Savior, and my family forever. I cannot imagine also being able to see some of the people that I have taught and served while on my mission there as well. What joy that would be for me. I imagine that the celestial kingdom will be full of men and women that are pure. Tried. Proven. Full of faith, hope, and charity. That gave up everything (sins, weaknesses, appetites, passions) so that they could gain everything (eternal life with those they love). I invite you to make those sacrifices and changes. Choose today to be better and to repent. It brings so much peace. I have seen it. I am a witness of it, not just for myself, but for those that surround me as well.I know that God and his son Jesus Christ are active in our lives. They put plans in place to save us. They love us so much that they give us trials, weaknesses, and hard times so that we can become refined, pure, and polished. We just need to trust in them as they do the polishing. I have learned that patience is key if we want to make it. We must learn to trust and be content. We must learn to serve and give of ourselves. We must learn above all, to love.
I love you all so very much. I love the Mexican people. Thank you for the love that you express towards me as well.Elder Nielsen
P.S. This is where I have lived for eight months! My companion got a picture of me trying to shut our door. It is less-complicated than my facial-expression is telling you. Also, notice my Mexican-style backpack! I love it more than most things.