Monday, November 25, 2013

Hello Family and Friends! Happy Thanksgiving!

A lot of missionaries from the United States have become experts in price-negotiation here in Mexico. They see something they like and then almost always successfully lower the price of said item. I mention this because I recently had a show-down here with a four-foot tall Mexican woman that was dressed exactly like Dorothy in The Wizard of Oz over a backpack that I really liked here in the center of Iguala. I lost. I still have a lot of practice to do....

Impressions of Mexico!

1) Mexican medical treatments never cease to amaze me. We visited with a family this week and I noticed that they had goats behind their house. Come to find out that the sister has been sick for a while and the doctor told her that she should start to drink goat milk to get better. So they literally go into their backyard and milk the goats everytime she starts to feel bad...

2) Another goat story. We were walking in the same little pueblo and suddenly, out of nowhere, we were attacked by a herd of goats. They just start running and charging towards us from around the corner. The scariest part was that they literally started jumping like 3 or 4 feet in the air. I was so scared.

3) We were walking up a hill and saw a man holding a really odd object wrapped in a plastic bag. As we get closer...we realized that he was literally holding, by the nose, a straight-up cow head. Recently severed from the body. We started thinking seriously about what he was going to do with it.

So yes. My life has pretty much been insane the last few months. I have actually loved being able to spend the greater part of my mission in little pueblos outside of the big cities. Life is just so different. So unique. I love it.

I just want to bear my testimony to you all. I know that God lives and that he answers prayers. This week was difficult. Sunday was very disappointing and I was really down on myself because of the lack of progression that we have seen here. I started to doubt and be really negative with myself and our situation. As a result, I felt a lack of the Spirit. The Spirit is always the same. When we demostrate a lack of faith in God and his plans for us, he leaves us for a little while. Doubt and fear and negativity cannot coexisit with the Spirit. Because the Spirit invites us to love, to serve, to be patient, and to be humble. I am grateful that my mission has taught me of the need to have him with me always. I feel so empty without his presence. I feel like I am missing something important. On the bus ride from Huetamo to Altamirano, I started to pray. I started to think about my favorite scriptures and the words of my favorite hymns. I wanted the Spirit to give me clarity and peace and to return again. And he did. I love the Holy Ghost. His companionship gives me strength. But literal physical and spiritual strength. He has comforted me, given me feelings of peace and love, and helped me to know what I should do. I know that having his companionship is more important than anything else. I was reminded of that this week.

I know that God lives and that if I am patient, and trust him, that he will bless me richly. I know that he loves his children. He loves them so deeply. He wants us to have more faith in him and to learn of him and his Son through the restored gospel. I know that Christ lives. He performed the Atonement for each and every one of us. His Atonement gives me strength. Strength to keep going and give what I otherwise would not be able to give. I am learning to be content even in the hardest of situations. I am learning to be humble and patient. I am learning to work hard and continue working hard even if I cannot see immediate results. I am learning to love people for who they are. I catch glimpses here and there of how much joy God feels when we make the right decisions and choose to follow him. I will forever be grateful for the lessons I have learned and will continue to learn as a missionary. A mission is not easy. It is so, so hard and challenging. But it is worth it. I have been thinking about my converts and the people I have taught and helped and gotten to know during my mission. They are the reason why I continue to serve. I love them so much.

I love you all as well and hope that you have an amazing week.

Elder Nielsen

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