Monday, May 26, 2014

Hello Family and Friends!

We have two areas in our zone. One is called Cumbres. And the other is called Cima. I want you to Google translate those two words to find out what they mean in English. Then you will come to a realization of how the terrain is here in Acapulco.

Impressions of Mexico!

1) Well I guess this first one is sort of an impression/funny story. So, we were on divisions this week with an area in our zone. I ended up staying in my area with an Elder that is in his first change. We were walking back towards our house at the end of the day and started getting close to a street corner, on the which we saw three of the largest pitbulls that I have ever seen in my life. We could see clearly that two of them were tied and innocently assumed that the third was tied as well. As we got closer, well, I guess the third pitbull got scared and....the chase began! I got out of the way and he kept chasing my companion about half way down the street. Yes, after almost 23 months in the field I got chased by my first street dog in Mexico!

2) There is a part of our zone that's not located on the coast of Acapulco and the areas are called Renacimiento and Zapata. Well, the form of public transport in this part of Acapulco are pick-up trucks. The back of the pick-up truck has a covering like the wagons did in the old west and they just put two wooden benches on both sides of the back of the truck. They get pretty full so people that don't get a seat just sort of hang off the back. HELLO PEOPLE.

Well, this week was honestly super difficult. It was just one of those weeks when it seems like everything that could go wrong, did go wrong. I had a few weak moments but tried to remain positive, faithful, and hopeful for most of the week. But I learned a lot from this week. It was just another testimony to me that God expects our loyalty and faith in both the good and bad. In both the sunshine and rain. To keep studying the scriptures with faith and real intent. To keep praying with faith and real intent. And to keep serving others. I just remember on Saturday night being SO ready to go to church and take the sacrament. Taking the sacrament every Sunday has really become something sacred to me. My mission president has really prompted us repeatedly to gain our own testimonies about the importance of taking the sacrament and church attendance. During the sacrament I feel so much peace. It is a moment that I can just think about my Savior. Think about his Atonement. And remember the great things that he has done for me in my life. I commit to changing. When I take the sacrament in this way, church becomes a sacred experience for me every Sunday. I leave with energy, peace, and hope.

Well, that's the way I left church yesterday. Right after the services we felt inspired to visit a referral that we had received from a less-active member but that we hadn't been able to get into contact with. When we got up to her house she was outside washing dishes. We asked her if we could share a message with her about the Restoration of the Gospel of Jesus Christ. She said yes. She (Edith) lives in very humble conditions and told us that she didn't have chairs to offer us so we taught the lesson in front of her house standing up. But it was so spiritual. We taught her the restoration and she easily accepted a baptismal date. At the end of the lesson we invited her to say the closing prayer. She started to say it and burst into tears. She just said that she felt so much peace and relief. We let her know that it was the Spirit teaching her that this message is true and will bless her life. God blessed us with the opportunity to find many more new investigators after church and they all accepted the challenge to be baptized.

After a week of so much trial, it was such a sweet blessing that we received yesterday. I actually started tearing up as Edith said her closing prayer. I just felt so grateful for the mercy of God. He loves his children so much. This work isn't about me. It's about God reaching out to his children through his Spirit and guiding his missionaries to where they need to be. I'm so grateful for a loving Father in Heaven that knows me personally, intimately, and deeply. I'm so grateful that he answers prayers in the moment when his children need it. I'm so grateful for growth and change. I love this gospel.

I love you all!

Elder Nielsen

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