Hello Family and Friends!We just hiked the mountain in Tepoztlan as a district activity. One of the sister missionaries, Sister López (at about the halfway point), started saying, "I can't do it anymore. If I continue to climb this mountain I am going to die. Leave me here!" And I just kept lying to her and telling her that we were almost there (which we really were not...but I had to). Other interesting things that happened during the trip...I ate fried locust, we were so thirsty that some of the missionaries started to drink the water that was flowing in the rivers and falling off the rocks, Sister Pech got mad at me at the top of the pyramid and said that she was going to push me off...it is always an interesting experience when we get together as a district.
Impressions of Mexico!1) Mexican field workers...never stop working. Like there are literally 90 year-old men and women that you see walking in the street in their leather sandals, cowboy hats, shawls (for the women), and with their machetes. You can always tell that they are field workers if they walk around with machetes in the street.
2) They are building a Walmart here in Yautepec! Walmart is a sign of civilization in Mexico.
3) People here are so superstituous. Like, they always talk about ghosts and evil spirits invading their houses. Every Mexican has a good story about rebuking evil spirits.
4) In restaurants, it is very uncommon for the establishment to have matching plates and silverware. They almost always serve your food on the plastic plates you would buy for kids in walmart or other stores. Therefore every plate is unique and has different patterns and pictures. I like it.The family that we are teaching is doing great! Their names are Jacob, Rachel, Abiud, and Abdial. They really are special people. We asked them this week if they have noticed any changes in their lives since they have started talking with us. Rachel started crying and said that she has gained so much more faith. That a peace and feeling of calm has entered their house and their lives that they had never felt before. And that they know that this church is true. I love it when people start to feel the spirit and start to make changes in their lives. When they start feeling the spirit they start to feel so happy. They feel that peace and that hope that comes with increased faith and with the knowledge that if they are faithful, then they will be able to return to live with our Heavenly Father again as families. It truly is such a blessing to see this process occur in people.
I feel very happy and content. I realize that I still have so much to learn. But I think that God is so happy when he sees that his children are happy. I used to think that the purpose to be here in this world was to suffer and grit your teeth and try to endure to the end. I was not always happy and I was robbed of a lot of peace. But what I have come to know as a missionary is that we can choose to be happy. We can choose to be content with who we are, what we are, and where we are. That does not mean that we stop improving. Or that we do not want to be better. It means that we are content with who we are in the moment. With where God wants us to be in that moment. And with what we are doing in the moment. There are so many that I have met that look into the future and only fix themselves on what they could be. What they could have. Where they could be going. And they forget to enjoy what is happening right around them in the moment. I know that God has plans for each and every one of us. There is a time and season for everything. I cannot imagine a God that would want us to always be discontent because we are always so focused on the future or on the past. Every moment, everything that happens to us, every person we meet, door we knock, lesson we teach, funny experience that happens is a gift from him. He has gifted me those experiences. And he wants me to enjoy and learn from every single one of them because he knows that they will lead me and shape me into the man and person that he wants me to become. So I guess I am happier and more content because I am learning to enjoy what God has been giving me every moment of mission and every moment of my life. I feel very blessed. That is something that the Mexican people, that I love so much, have taught me.
I know that God lives. I love telling people that he lives and that he loves them. Maybe there are many who do not believe me, but, my hope is that the spirit touches their hearts just a little when I have the chance to bear my testimony to them. I know Christ lives. He is my Savior. He is my Redeemer. He gave everything, both physically and spiritually, so that we could gain everything both physically and spiritually. The Book of Mormon is true. I have seen miracles occur in my mission by talking about that book. I will be eternally grateful for the chance that I have had to be a missionary and representative of my King, the Lord, and Redeemer Jesus Christ.
I love you all so very much.Elder Nielsen