Monday, April 7, 2014

Hello Family and Friends!

As I was sitting and listening to the Sunday morning session of general conference, during President Monson's talk, I received a text message from Luz Maria that just got baptized in Altamirano. It said, "Wow, I feel blessed to be able to listen to our prophet!" I also felt blessed. Every General Conference I feel especially grateful and proud to be a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. And a missionary and representative of Jesus Christ. I have felt very blessed this week.

Impressions of Mexico!

1) Empty three-liter Coke bottles are used in so many different, and might I add, resourceful ways. For example: 

A) They are filled with popular cleaning products and sold in the market.

B) They can also be used as pots to put your potted plants in (when divided in half of course).

C) They can be subsequently washed and used for your own water or juice.

D) You can fill them up with water, stick it in the freezer, and make ice.

I think you get the point. Mexico loves Coke. And Mexicans are very resourceful.

2) Mexicans pierce the ears of their baby girls VERY YOUNG. We talked with a young father holding his 7 month old baby in his arms and noticed that the baby already had her ears pierced. But they usually do it when they are just a few months old. I asked someone once why and she told me, "We might as well get it over with now when they won't remember how much it hurt!"

This week we only had about 8 hours to work in our area in Altamirano because of General conference, a mission conference, and a zone training, but during the time that we were there we were able to meet with a cool new investigator named Fulbia. Sometimes I feel like the faith of the Mexican people is so great. During the lesson that we had with her, she asked us why God makes some people so poor. She's a woman that lives in humble circumstances (her husband got in a horrible car accident, leaving him disabled and unable to walk) and lives off of her son's income and little sewing jobs that she is given now and again. After talking with her I realized what a sweet spirit this woman has. She was so humble, so kind, and was not bitter at all. She told us that in her way, every morning, she prays and thanks God for giving her another day and asks him to provide food for her and her family. Despite all of her trials she still has faith and still shows love. To answer her question, I asked her, "What are the positive things that you have gained in your life by having this trial?" She told me that she has compassion on others that are also in need. Even though she does not have much, she strives to give to others that are in even worse conditions. That it has made her family happy and humble. I told her, "That is exactly what God would say to you. You needed this trial to be worthy and ready to return to live with him again." What a beautiful moment that was for me. God gives us trials so that we can be humble and show compassion to others that experience that same trial. We are then lifted up and made even better.

I really enjoyed Elder Holland's talk. As a missionary there are so many moments when you and your message aren't exactly well-received by the people. There are a lot of sacrifices that we need to make if we are to truly be disciples of Christ. Sometimes it's hard to bear your testimony or share doctrine and truths that have literally changed you and have people throw it back in your face, or worse, show indifference. I know that God loves his children. But he is also a just God as Elder Holland described. He is a demanding God and a God of high expectations. So many today paint him or think of him as this unknown void out there in the universe that is full of love, giggles, and laughter and that will ultimately save everyone in the end despite their actions or what they did during their lives. I have come to know that that is simply not true. He loves us. His love is so perfect. And his mercy extends to every single one of us. But it only takes effect when we do our part. Constant repentance. An earnest striving to improve. Constant dedication, diligence, and obedience. His power is infinite. He is a man with a body of flesh and bones, glorified, perfected, and immortal. He works through his Only Begotten and Perfect Son Jesus Christ. I will always be in the process of coming to know my Heavenly Father. As I learn more and more about him, the more my love grows for him and my respect for him and reverance increases. I love him very much.

I had a little extra time this week and went to go visit David, Cinthia, and Susy in my first ward in Iguala. They haven't been attending church and I was able to visit with them and share a little about the sacrament. More than anything I expressed the love that I have for them. I love them. Very much. It's very hard for me sometimes to hear about people you love making incorrect choices. But I have learned that instead of giving those people thoughtless sermons, the best thing you can do is show them love. Invite them with love. "Charity never faileth." They attended General Conference on Sunday!

I am happy. Peaceful. And determined to move forward and improve.

Elder Nielsen

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