Monday, April 28, 2014

Hello Family and Friends!

So after 7 months in Altamirano/Huetamo, I received a call from President Kusch this week on Wednesday telling me that I was going to be changed. I am now writing you from my last Acapulco! I will be serving here as a zone leader and I have my first American companion by my side (after 22 months)! His name is Elder Anglin and he's from Utah and this is going to be his last change in the mission. My area is called Costa Azul and it basically covers the entire major coastline of Acapulco (including the touristic parts). We have an ocean view from our apartment! I'm really excited to be here!

Impressions of Mexico!

1) It is super humid here in Acapulco. And the entire city is built into the side of hills. So, basically every single missionary that comes here ends up losing a lot of weight. Fingers crossed.

I'm sure being in a different place will help me have a few more different impressions but that is all that I could come up with for this week!

Well, the Altamirano/Huetamo chapter of my mission has now come to a close. It was a bitter-sweet experience for me. It was so hard and challenging. It was the hardest and most challenging thing that I have ever been asked to do in my life. On my last Sunday in the branch, the attendance was about the same as it was when Elder Millan and I had arrived 7 months before. During my time there I was able to see the baptism and conversion of Luz MarĂ­a. I've learned something very important in Altamirano. A lot of the time we base our self-worth on the results of our efforts. This world so often only demands results. And if you can't produce something unique or excellent then you have no worth. God sees us so differently. Because he knows our hearts he doesn't just look at the external results of our efforts. In fact, I think what matters most to him is the effort that we put into the task we were given. If we truly strove to do all that we could do with the circumstances and help that we were given. But one thing is sure, when we do our best, there will always be miracles. And there were so many miracles. Both inside of myself and in others.

I love the Lord. He's taught me to be a lot more accepting of my circumstances and weaknesses. And when I say "accept" my weaknesses I don't mean that I think it is all right to keep making the same mistakes over and over again. Rather, I accept the fact that I am weak, that I make mistakes, and that right now in my eternal progression I will never be able to do everything flawlessly and perfectly. However, I know, more now than ever before, that there is a Savior. That his Atonement is real. I know the Lord forgives and is merciful. He helps us when we rely on him and strive to do all we can. Then grace comes in. Isn't it amazing? Those moments when you receive that divine strength, inspiration, and help that you needed when all other hope had faded.

God lives. He hears and answers our prayers. I will forever praise him for what he has done for me and for those that I love. I am so grateful for the opportunity that he has given me to serve as a missionary and representative of his perfect, glorious son. My Lord and my Savior. 

I love you all so very much.

Elder Nielsen

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