Monday, March 31, 2014

Hello Family and Friends!

Well this has been an interesting week for sure! So my small little district originally was Huetamo and my area Altamirano. Well, this week Huetamo was closed due to some security concerns and the Elders that were in the area went to another area in the zone. Leaving me, once again, as the only companionship in this part of Guerrero. Yes. That means that my days of long, weekly bus rides have been resumed!

Impressions of Mexico!

1) Mexicans never walk barefoot in their homes. NEVER. It's like taboo for them. They think that they'll get sick.

2) Street dogs have such a big fear of donkeys and horses. Every single time a donkey or a horse goes down the street it'll have like a literal trail of dogs barking at it, running after it, and yapping at its feet.

Something that I've been trying to do this week, as I've been contacting people, is ask them about their relationship with God. Usually the first question I ask them is if they believe in God. They almost always, emphatically answer yes. That of course they believe in God. Then I would ask them, "And how did you come to believe in God?" This was the part that scared me a little. I would say that 80-90% of the people I have talked to, when asked this question answered something like, "It's because my parents told me that there is a God." And then I would ask again, "But how do you know that there is a God?" And many would give the same answer. I started to think about these answers a lot this week. There are so many that just teach their children to believe that there is a God and that you should have "faith" in that God and that's about it. It reminded of King Lamoni. He believed in a great spirit because his father had believed in a great spirit. However, the Lamanites believed that whatever they did was fine in the sight of this great spirit. As I have pondered over this, my testimony has been strengthened. We as missionaries invite people to really come to know God. To pray and ask if he exists. To read of him and learn of him. To ask him questions and receive personal revelation. To truly develop a personal relationship with him. To come to know that he lives and that he loves us for yourself. I know that when a person really comes to believe these things and develop this type of a relationship with God that their actions, thoughts, and responses to life will change radically.

That has been the challenge for me, converting that type of faith into knowledge. And converting that faith and knowledge into action. I truly know that faith without works is dead. We demonstrate our love for God through our obedience, our devotion, our diligence, and our desire to serve others. We must be doers, and not just hearers of the word. There are so many that get stuck in the "hearing" part. This world needs more people that are willing to do. To act. To work. And to give. I have learned of the necessity of "doing" in order to build real, lasting faith and conversion. We have a lot of investigators right now that are stuck in the "hearing" part. I remember that an area 70, in a training he gave here in Iguala, said that the moment the church will change in the world is when the members stop saying, "Wow, what a beautiful conference" after each general conference and instead say, "Wow, what a beautiful conference. Here are things I learned. Here are the things I'm going to improve. Here are the goals that I've set." The gospel is a gospel of action and sacrifice. Without it, it couldn't be the gospel of Jesus Christ. The gospel is here to help us grow and move forward, not just to be heard.

I know that God lives. His plans truly are perfect. Because if we submit ourselves to his will, they will perfect us. I know that The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is the church of Christ on this earth. His Atonement is real, infinite, and everlasting. It literally changes people. If we are willing to be taught, we will be taught. We will be instructed from on high. He will never leave us alone, and we can never fail if we give it all we have.

I love you all so very much.

Elder Nielsen

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