Monday, October 28, 2013

Hello Family and Friends!

This week has been absolutely insane. On Sunday, I think about 16 members attended church, therefore Elder Millán and I gave talks, I played the piano, taught Sunday School, taught Priesthood, and then handled all the computer work of the branch after the services. Every Sunday has been a little stressful for us as you can see. During the Sacrament, I felt the Spirit whisper to me that I needed to be patient and that God would work miracles in the branch. I am giving heed to and trusting in what I heard. It gave me a lot of strength to receive that impression. I know that God is a God of miracles and that he works according to the faith of man.

Impressions of Mexico!

1) Many people have told my companion that he speaks Spanish very well and then proceed to ask him what language they speak in Argentina. HELLO PEOPLE.

2) Lots of times as missionaries, while walking in the street, we strive to recognize service opportunities to help people out. Lots of times, however, the people do not accept or want our help. But their form of rejecting you has always been really funny to me. They just say, "Gracias". And "Gracias" for them means "No". But as we know, Gracias, directly translated, means Thank You. So in the beginning of my mission, when I asked someone if I could help them carry or move something and they said, "Gracias", I thought that they were saying Thank You and Yes. Turns out no. It is just a nice and strange way of saying no :(

Last week, after I wrote, I had the opportunity to visit my converts David, Cinthia, and Susy, here in Iguala. I had heard that they had stopped going to church a few months ago and went to encourage them. When I entered their house again, I just felt so much love. Like, I felt the love they have towards me and I was able to express the love that I have towards them. I truly love them so much. I cannot imagine how much God loves them. I invited them to return to church. They have experienced so many trials after their baptism and felt like they could not handle it anymore. I bore them my testimony. The spirit was palpably strong and they promised me that they would go to church the next Sunday. Leaving their house, I started thinking seriously about charity. The message that I shared was not unique. I would share that same message with any less-active. But the difference was not what I said, but how I said it. The key to touch the hearts of those you teach is to feel Christ-like love for them. That pure love that gave Christ the strength to atone for our sins and give his life for us. They can feel your intentions. They can feel if you love them or not. I made the goal after the lesson that I would strive to teach every single person that I come into contact with with the same love that I would teach a convert or a family member that has strayed from the truth. The words we speak and the way we speak them and the feelings that we put behind them truly matter. Without charity we are nothing.

I was also able to finish reading the Book of Mormon this week. I was so sad when I finished. Every time I read it my testimony grows stronger and stronger of its truthfulness. I felt the faith and complete trust that Nephi had in the Lord. I was strengthened by the examples that Ammon, Alma, Amulek, Lehi, and Nephi left as strong missionaries that lost themselves and gave everything to serve others. I cried as the Savior presented himself to the Nephites and healed, blessed, and prayed for them. I felt my faith grow. Reading gave me the strength to make a lot of much needed changes. I am a better person now. I know that the Book of Mormon is true. It has the answers to all of our questions. It testifies so strongly of the risen Savior and his gospel. It is true.

I am striving to act well my part and be the best representative of Christ that I can be. I think that comes when we love and exercise pure and simple faith. I know and bear testimony that God puts plans in place to save us. He gives us the experiences that we need to have in order to return to live with him again. His plans are perfect. I am grateful for the opportunity that I have to serve him. When we truly give all we have to give, then it is enough. If we are faithful, then we will be blessed. If we are grateful, then he blesses us with more. Be sincere with God. Pray to him and let him know how you feel. Ask for the help that you need. I promise you that he listens to you and that he answers prayers.

I love you all very much.

Elder Nielsen

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