Monday, March 10, 2014

Hello Family and Friends!

I don't have a lot of time today because we have to go to Iguala for zone training tomorrow but I wanted to share with you all some of the experiences that I had this week!

I know that God loves his children. I have gotten to know and taught so many people here in Altamirano that have suffered so much. They have lost family members. Many live in poverty. Others suffer from illnesses, divorce, wayward children, and a lack of faith and hope for the future. A lot of people live in fear because of intense social problems that they experience in the region. I remember that when I got here, I literally felt an oppressive heaviness. Like, a lack of the Spirit. As I have been in their homes, taught them in the street, and sought to help them, I have grown to have a love for the people in Altamirano. It is a difficult assignment. The church is really new here and there are but a few members that have a strong and firm testimony of the gospel, but what I have felt is that God has been trying and humbling this people and preparing them to receive the gospel.

During a lesson this week with a young, recently divorced mother and her three young children, I could feel the love that God had for her.  I told her, "I know that it's hard sometimes to close your eyes, bow your head, and know that someone is listening to you. We can't see God right now. But he asks us to act in faith. I know that he listens to us. But he doesn't just listen to us. He answers us as well. He answers the questions that we have."

We were able to have a Family Home Evening with the branch on Saturday night and we taught about the vision of the tree of life that Lehi had. We showed them the animated Book of Mormon video of the Tree of Life. I love the part, after the great and spacious building falls and Nephi says to Sam basically, "Let's go. There's lots of work to be done." They immediately start rescuing and helping others that are trying to feel their way back to the straight and narrow path. I know that that's what we are called to do. I know that God calls people into his church so that they can help others also find their way back to the correct path. I know that each and every one of us have been given trials and weaknesses that will lead us perfectly to exaltation if we will humble ourselves and trust in God. I also know that God expects us to use the knowledge we have gained and the experiences that we have lived because of those weaknesses so that we can help lift up and support others with those same trials and weaknesses.

There is so much work to be done. God is hastening his work in every single aspect. He is asking us to be more converted, more willing to serve, more willing to sacrifice for the gospel, because he knows that difficult times are coming. We have to grow closer to God each and every day if we are going to withstand the storm.

I have been able to gain so much more trust in my Heavenly Father during my mission. I know he lives. I know he hears my prayers.  Sometimes it is hard to keep moving forward when you don't know exactly what is going to happen. But looking back on everything that has happened both during my life and mission, I have been able to see God's hand in everything. He has lead me exactly where I have needed to be and exactly when I needed to be there and exactly with who I have needed to be with. He has lovingly humbled me and then lifted me up to more than I was before. I love my Father in Heaven so much. I have a deep love and reverance for the Savior. His Atonement is real.  Everything unfair about life can be made right through the Atonement of Christ. I hope that you all know that as well and believe it.

Well, that's about all that I have time for. I love you all very much.  It's so weird how fast time has passed by during my mission. I hope that you have an amazing week.

Elder Nielsen

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