Monday, December 9, 2013

Hello Family and Friends!

Challenges. Learning. Growth. It seems to be the pattern for a missionary. I feel very grateful for the blessings of my Heavenly Father. That he is teaching me so much about myself while I try to serve and work with others. We are meant to learn and grow, I think, by loving and serving others, even when it is difficult. I have learned so much this week. It was a hard week to be sure, but I have learned so much. For that, I am grateful.

Impressions of Mexico!

1) I saw two pharmacies this week. Both in Huetamo. One was called God's Pharmacy...and the other...Christ's Pharmacy. HELLO PEOPLE.

2) For some reason it is popular here, instead of buying bottled water, to sell purified water in small little plastic bags. They literally just give you the bag, you rip off the corner with your teeth and drink the water. This week someone gave us bags of water, and while drinking I saw a picture of the Virgin de Guadalupe on the bag. I thought, "Why?" And then noticed that they had placed emphasis on the fact that it was PURIFIED water. Pure. Like the virgin. HELLO PEOPLE.

3) Sometimes, when we teach people, and we state a declaration that a person feels is correct, they will say Amen after you say the statement. For example, "Brother Hernandez, You are a child of God {AMEN} and he loves you so much {AMEN}."

4) The most common name for women in Mexico by far is María. For example: María, María del Refugio, Luz María, María de Guadalupe, María de Jesús, María Fernanda, María Magdalena, are some that come to mind.

I still find a lot of joy in recognizing the uniqueness of Mexico. I literally love the Mexican people. They are so funny and quirky. I love spending time with them. They are a people that have been prepared to receive the gospel.

We have been teaching an investigator here in Altamirano named Luz María. She is the owner of a restaurant and was actually a reference from President Kusch when he came to visit Altamirano. She is a perfect example for me of someone that is looking for the truth. Someone that is honestly seeking after it. When we first started teaching her, she put up her barriers. She said that she was curious about the church but that she would never change religions because of her mother. As we have taught her and as she has attended church, I have been able to see the Spirit working in her. She is changing dramatically. She has that desire to know more and more. That spiritual hunger. That is what the gospel does for people. It has a familiar ring for them when they start learning about it. It has that ring because it is eternal. If we are open to the Spirit, we will not be able to deny the truthfulness of the message. She has been reading the Book of Mormon, always tells us that she is only going to go to church for the first hour and then ends up staying for all three, and tells us how much peace she feels when she goes to church. She actually told us a funny story this week. She said that she was reading the Book of Mormon in her restaurant during her down time and that she had been asking God for a sign that it is true. She said that she put down the book and opened up her Facebook and the first thing she saw was that one of her friends "Likes" The Book of Mormon. I said, "Well there you have it." I love teaching people like her. People that God has prepared. There are so many of them out there. We just need to find them. 

I love Christmas. People are a little more open to talking about the role that God, Christ, and religion play in their lives. I take the opportunity to testify of my Savior. Of the reality of his mission as the Savior and Redeemer of the world. That he was chosen before this world began, that he was born, just in the way that it is described in the Bible. That he taught the true and eternal gospel of his father. That he established his church. That he performed miracles. That he healed. That he performed an eternal Atonement in the Garden of Gethsemane. That he was betrayed, judged falsly, mocked, beaten, ridiculed, and crucified. That he was resurrected and appeared to his disciples in Jerusalem and in the American continent. And that he appeared in the year 1820 to a young fourteen year old that wanted to know which church was the true church of God. That he lives and directs his church today through a living prophet. And that he will come again. I love my Savior. His Atonement gives me the strength I need to do hard things that I could not do alone. It gives me the hope of eternal life with those I love. It helps me to be what God needs me to be. It allows me to grow and change. It is the most important thing that has been done or that will be done on this Earth. I testify of these things to each and every one of you. I know that they are true.

I am learning more and more to walk by faith. To let God take control. And to try to share the same vision that he has for me and for his work in Altamirano and Huetamo. I love you all so very much. I hope that you have an amazing week. And Merry Christmas!

Elder Nielsen

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