Monday, September 23, 2013

Hello Family and Friends!
Well! Big announcement! President Kusch called this week and said that in a week I will be transferred to a branch that has been closed to missionary work for about 3 months in the state of Guerrero. The branch is called Altamirano and it is about 2 or 3 hours outside of my first zone Iguala! Apparently the branch has been struggling for some time now and does not have a lot of men that hold the priesthood. So, President Kusch is assigning me to serve as a counselor to the branch president and my new companion will serve as a secretary in the branch. I am nervous but excited at the same time! And I am going to enjoy my last week here in the branch!

Impressions of Mexico!
1) You just have to understand. Traffic rules do not exist in Mexico. At least not in Morelos. Something new that I saw this week was a person driving a straight-up four-wheeler down the street.

2) I know that I have already mentioned that dogs run wild here in the streets of Mexico. Something that I do not believe that I have mentioned before is that sometimes, when it is raining, they try to seek refuge inside of the chapel on Sunday. They wait patiently as the members file into the building and look for the opportunity to sneak into the door while the members are not paying attention. That happened yesterday.
We also had a baptism this week! His name is Luis Guillermo, a young man of 14 years of age. His friends invited him to EFY and he decided to go as a non-member. His mom was actually the one that wanted him to go so that he could have a "cultural experience". To her surprise, he got home and the first thing that he told her is that he wanted to be baptized and be a member of the church. So we got into contact with him and began teaching him about a month ago and his baptismal service was on Saturday! It was the most spiritual baptismal service that I have had as a missionary. The branch really took him in and loved him and about 40 members showed up to his baptismal service. I played the piano and we sang a special musical number with the sister missionaries. President Santos of the branch baptized him. It was a wonderful and peaceful experience. And if everything goes right, Jacob, Rachel, and Abiud should get baptized this Saturday, my last Saturday in the branch!

I feel very happy right now. I realize now, as my time in the branch is winding down to a close, how much I have grown in this little pueblo. How much I have learned to love these people. I love these people so much and I am going to miss them so much. There were a lot of days that were really difficult. There were a lot of problems here as well. But the beautiful and happy experiences are the ones that I am going to remember forever. God gave me a lot of gifts here. My faith grew in my Savior and in my Heavenly Father. My love for missionary work grew as well. I really came into my own in this branch. I will be forever grateful for the 8 months I was given here. And now I am ready for my next adventure!
I am grateful for this opportunity to serve. Every time I see one of my investigators enter the waters of baptism...when they descend those steps and walk slowly into the baptismal font, I mean, I cannot describe how I feel. I just feel like God is so present. I feel like he is so happy for the decision that this individual is making. They are his sons and daughters that have come to know the truth. And they are taking a step of faith. I know that the Doctrine of Christ is real. I know that Jesus Christ lives and is the Savior of the world. I know that God answers our prayers. That he loves us deeply and eternally. I know that obedience to the commandments sets us free and makes us happy and peaceful. I know that love really does cast out fear and that God is putting plans in place to save us, if we want to be saved. The Atonement is real. Repentance and change are real. I know and can testify of these things.

I love you all very much. I hope that you can feel the love that God has for you. He loves you all perfectly.
Elder Nielsen

P.S. I tried to upload pictures but the computer is being stupid. Until next week.

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