Monday, May 5, 2014

Hello Family and Friends!

Week one in Acapulco completed! I absolutely love it here. It's so different from any other area that I've been in before. I feel like the Lord has prepared a lot of special experiences for me here. I feel very energized and very happy!

Impressions of Mexico!

1) So, people from Acapulco and the coast have a very distinct look to them. I mean not everyone is the same, but generally the people here have darker skin, but like...really dark, and a lot of them have curly hair. Their accent is also completely different. They talk very quickly and slur their words. I love it!

2) The main street that runs along the coast of Acapulco is called La Costera. It's very Americanized with really clean, well-kept streets, hotels, restaurants, movie theaters, stores, etc. I think it's so funny because if you literally walk from the Costera up into the actual city of Acapulco the entire vibe completely changes in an instant. It turns immediately into a normal Mexican city.

3) The buses that go up and down the Costera are literally insane. At night the people that usually drive them are young men and they literally have black lights and music blasting so high that you can't hear what the person sitting next to you is saying.

We are basically starting off from ground zero here in Costa Azul in terms of investigators but I am very excited to work here. It's the first time that I've served in a ward since January of 2013! I had gotten used to seeing like 30 people in church on Sundays so when I showed up this last Sunday and saw like more than 150 people I was shocked. The ward is really excited to work with us!

It's hard describing how I feel always. It's weird for me to see how quickly time passes by. It's exciting for me to see me face situations that would have given me anxiety, fear, and anger before and watch me face them with faith, peace, and hope now. I fully believe that our lives could change so dramatically if we would just let them change. We had to go to Cuernavaca this week for a leadership conference (it's like a 4 hour bus ride from Acapulco) and on the way back I just started thinking and meditating. I was reading in the first page of Preach My Gospel about the love that God has for each and every one of his children. In my minds eye I could see how sad he must get, as our loving father, when we make incorrect decisions and sin. But I also saw in my mind's eye the joy he feels when his children turn towards him, repent, and begin making correct decisions. I love my Father in Heaven.

I'm so grateful for the time that God has given me to serve as a missionary. I love my Heavenly Father. I know that if we pray and then listen for an answer, that God will always direct us towards the decision we need to make or help us feel what we need to feel in order to progress and change. I know that this church is his church. The Book of Mormon is true. Its witness and testimony of Jesus Christ, his gospel, and his Atonement is so powerful and has changed my life. I know that Joseph Smith was a prophet and that Thomas S. Monson is the Lord's prophet here on earth. These simple truths sustain me and I'm so happy that my mission has taught me to declare them with simplicity and on a daily basis.

I love you all so very much.

Elder Nielsen

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