Monday, November 18, 2013

Hello Family and Friends!

We arrived in Huetamo this week safe and sound! Huetamo is not the first, nor the second, but the THIRD area that Elder Millán and I have opened together. We have become experts. We have actually felt a lot of peace in our new area. I feel like we are going to have a lot of success. We are excited!

Impressions of Mexico!

1) Sometimes I feel like the members get together and decide to make the same meal for the missionaries every single day of the week. This week was...Chile con Huevo! Or spicy salsa with little chunks of egg...and beans...and lots of tortillas. Just so you can get a little taste of how the food is in my little pueblito in Michoacán.
2) People in Mexico are very proud of the trades that they have learned. A lot of them have been working the same job since they were really little. We entered the house of an investigator and I saw wood, machinery, and paint and I proceeded to ask him if he was a carpenter. He told me that he was and then said, "And here is the proof!" he stuck his hand in my face...a hand that was missing two fingers.
3) A member that went to a Quinceañera this week told us on Sunday that the Catholic Priest made a special announcement in Mass that the young men in ties have returned to Huetamo and that the people of the pueblo should not open their doors to us...that made me sad.

Sometimes the best thing that we have going for us as missionaries is that we are different from the rest. I mean come on. We are in the middle of a small little pueblo walking around in a white shirt, tie, and dress pants with a name badge. And for the first time in one of my companionships, neither one of us are Mexican. People are naturally curious as to what an Argentinian and American are doing in the middle of Huetamo. I love it. But I have also learned that even more important than how we look is how we act. People can sense where your spirit is and the type of life that you are living. If you are being sincere or just teaching and preaching what you were taught to teach and preach. Even after so much time, I still think a lot about that concept. That as a missionary, I am called to be a literal representative of Jesus Christ. Like, I am called to serve like he served, teach like he taught, and be like he is. And to minister unto the people of Huetamo and Altamirano. A lot of times, when we have the chance to sit down with people and talk, it always surprises me how open they are with us. They tell us about challenges and difficulties that I would never even think about telling someone that I had just met. But they do it because they feel something when they are with us. They feel the Spirit. I love it when that happens because it means that we are doing our job. It is a constant fight. You have to be doing and thinking the right things to have the Spirit with you. But to have him there with you and the example you give to others makes it worth it. It is the most powerful tool we have when sharing the gospel.

The only way I can describe how I feel is peaceful. I am happy with where I am at. I have reflected on my mission a lot this week. It has always been my goal to work hard everyday and seek to honestly improve every single day. I have learned that comparing our outward results with others can be very deadly. When we compare ourselves to others, it really just means that we care more about what the world thinks of us than what God feels and thinks of us. I read a talk from the April 2013 General Conference by a 70 that was entitled Accepted of the Lord. He taught, very simply, the guidelines that we need to follow in order to be accepted of God. To be accepted you need to have...

A) An honest and broken heart.

B) A contrite spirit.

C) And be willing to keep and observe the covenants you have made by sacrifice.

I always want to be strive to be accepted of him and not of man. His opinion is becoming more important to me than the opinion of man. I, and I think each and every one of us have a lot of growth to experience here, that is why I thought I should share it.

My testimony of Christ and his Atonement has grown very strong during my mission. I love him so much. We are given the chance to be completely healed and enjoy eternal life if we strive to obey. I will forever be grateful for his love, mercy, and grace. It gives me the strength to keep going and keep striving to improve. My mission has been perfect for me. I have been humbled and have faced so many difficult situations. But the promise that Christ made, that he would be on our right hand and on our left, in front, and behind, and that his angels would be round about us to bear us up is true. Each day I strive to serve him a little better. It is the least I can do.

I love you all so much and hope that you have an amazing week.

Elder Nielsen

P.S. We went to Taxco today as a district (I felt so has been over year since I went the last time) and here is a picture of the Christ that overlooks the entire city. Love you all!

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