Monday, June 2, 2014

Hello Family and Friends!

So, this week is my companion's last week in the mission field. There's a tradition among missionaries that every missionary in the zone of an Elder that is finishing his mission cuts into the tie that the Elder is wearing during his last district meeting. Then the companion of the Elder that is finishing his mission cuts the entire tie off. Well. I just cut his tie off. Weird to think that that'll be happening to me in 6 weeks :0.

Impressions of Mexico!

1) So you know those old-fashioned arcade games. Yeah. Those are still big here. There are actually just tiny little businesses, usually situated close to schools, that are dedicated to solely having like 6 or 7 old arcade games. They are jam-packed with kids after school gets out.

2) Well, I think I've already established that Mexicans like their tortillas. Here in Costa Azul there are a lot of people that don't live close to a TortillerĂ­a (place where they sell tortillas). So what the tortillerĂ­as have done is hire a young man that has a motorcycle, to drive around all of Costa Azul, honking his horn as loud as he can, with a cooler full of hot tortillas strapped onto the back of his bike. It's rather amusing to me. The funniest part though is that there is more than one tortillerĂ­a competing. So sometimes you'll just hear three different motorcylces going around honking their horns in the same neighborhood.

3) There are a lot of people in Costa Azul that sell things like bread or sandwiches, or things like that and they'll just walk around with huge baskets, full of the things they're selling, on top of their heads. I want one of them to teach me how to balance it on my head before I go home.

I love seeing the faith of the people that I live among. A few weeks ago a sister in the ward had given us a reference to visit a young lady that works in a tiny store up in the hills of Costa Azul. We had passed by to try to contact her but could never end up finding her. On Saturday we were able to make contact with her and the experience really impressed me. She works in a small, over-the-counter store on a somewhat busy street so obviously we were not teaching her in what people would call an "ideal" setting. Oh yeah. We were all standing up as well. But what impressed me is that even in circumstances like that, we were able to teach her the message of the restoration. I could see the Spirit working in her as well. And at the end of the lesson she accepted the challenge to be baptized. Those are experiences that give me peace and help me understand that there truly are people that are "pure in heart". That truly desire to know the truth. And that God is working hard to save. Seeing the faith of others helps my faith grow. I trust in God a lot more now than I did before I was a missionary. I've truly learned to rely on him day by day. When I rely on him, I have success. When I start relying on myself or stop earnestly seeking after his guidance, I don't have success and I'm usually not happy either. It's very simple. He's just been training me, little by little, and helping me understand the need to truly walk with him every day. I truly need him "every passing hour", and not just as a missionary.

I've really been analyzing the part in the sacrament that if we always remember the Savior, then we will always have the Spirit to be with us. There are difficult moments in the mission and in life (I'm sure that this isn't a surprise to anyone). There have just been moments here where I have been exhausted, drenched in sweat, and walking up a steep hill. I've found that two things help me feel happy in those situations and peaceful and also prevent from internalizing and focusing on myself. 1) I think of the Savior and his Atonement and I automatically feel an increase of the Spirit. 2) I look up (literally) at the people around me and focus in on one that I can contact and teach.

I love my Savior. So very much. He's my motivation to keep going. His Atoning sacrifice has changed and continues to change me and help me grow. His grace and mercy have healed and cleansed me. I'd be nothing without him.

I love you all so very much.

Elder Nielsen

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