Tuesday, January 20, 2015

Getting the Rug Pulled Out...

Hi Familia,

Elder Toth and our turtle
This won´t be my last letter! Next week I will still go into internet to write the reports of the zone and then afterwards I´ll write you guys. I´m going to have to write this afternoon quickly because I spent all of my time in internet today saving my USB drive from a virus attack. I also have to get on to send pictures to the personal secretary and he wants pictures of the family that I am in...could you send me 5 family or personal pictures from before the mission to send to him for a memory video before let’s say 5 this afternoon? If not that´s cool, I can look for a couple in my USB drive. Love you guys have a good day and I´ll write later!

Elder Nelson

Dear Familia,

Ya okay so sorry for the difficulties earlier on today. What happened is that I plugged my USB in to get a few photos from another elder and his USB was full of viruses. Who knows how to get rid of viruses? This kid, so I spent the next hour battling this virus and couldn’t write you guys. Just know that now I don`t have a virus and bonus, because the personal secretary needs those photos I can write while they are uploading, cause they weigh a ton in computer terms.

This week went by really fast, and sometimes I feel a little like a dog when you are pulling the rug out from under it. I claw and I claw, but the time just slips away and I wish it could be a treadmill in reverse. That said, I feel like we are doing a great work in Trapiche, such a great work that it can be hard to think about going on work visits to other areas in the zone to help the missionaries in their areas. In spite of that, this week, we went on 3 different work visits, two of which I was out of the area and Elder N stayed and one where I stayed. One of those was with Elder L and the two where I left was with Elder F from Utah and the Sisters from San Carlos. What’s been happening in the zone is that our area is really really strong, but the other areas not so much, so we are trying to visit more often to give an example of strong work to the other missionaries and hopefully help them to get things going in their areas.

In the first visit with Elder L, well, he is an Elder that is finishing as well, and we can see that he knows so so much. I was really surprised in the morning studies when he told me that he wanted to finish the Book of Mormon before going home. What was surprising wasn’t that he wanted to read it, it was that he had read the book 11 times in the mission. I was shocked by the sheer amount of effort he had put into the study of it and it made me want to read it more. Every time I read it and finish I feel empowered to go out and ask someone else to read it as well, and I think for Elder L, it could be one of the reasons he asked President Erickson to let him stay in the mission one change longer.

Then with the sisters, we had a short visit in the afternoon with a member accompanying me and really could see the knowledge of a member that had as well studied the Book of Mormon since a very early age. He was an RM maybe 45 years old, and he hadn`t stopped studying, in fact, he had read several books additional to the standard works that helped him to reach a Filosopher investigator that we visited. The sisters teach differently than elders do. Both have very different styles and both are very successful only because both styles depend on teaching with the spirit and helping the person not necessarily the situation.

With Elder F, I was mostly there because in their area, the ward is suffering a little of a down time, but we are helping to put a better focus on retaining the recent converts and helping new members to feel like they are part of the ward. Part of that is helping them to understand doctrine that they didn’t understand when they were baptized. I hope the work there continues to progress like it did when I visited. Elder F will be a great missionary; he really focuses on how to help the people understand. He is from Kolby`s group, but I don`t know if he ever met Kolby. That whole group seems really preparado and spiritually sensitive to the needs of the people that they teach. I am continually surprised by the way he (Kolby) is developing as a missionary and I hope that this new opportunity as a district leader helps him to grow and develop in ways that the Lord would desire. Every assignment has a great purpose in the lifelong scheme of how our mission affects our lives.

I love all of you and I hope this week goes well for you. Any last details you should ask me before this coming Monday as that will be the last day that I will sign in and be able to work things from inside the mission.


Elder Nelson

What is in your hands?

that may or may not be a turtle shell...that had been gutted by the nice lady that made us lunch

Monday, January 12, 2015

A Shining Offering to the Lord

An apple I bought last Pday...it came from Yakima all the way to Perú to be eaten by an Elder from the TriCities. What a ways for such a strangely familiar end.
Dear familia,    

This week I had an experience that was both journal-worthy as well as letter home worthy. It was an experience that to me will be historical in the future, one that I think may be of great significance in the years to come. Remember that in the offices, the sisters had taught and baptized W, and that he had understood the gospel through an interpreter? Well, the interpreter, A, leaves for her mission in Chile on Wednesday, something that will be very difficult for W, because he is deaf and mute. He won´t have the interaction that he had before and it will become increasingly difficult for him to participate in the church. Why do I mention all of this story if I am in Trapiche though?

D was baptized 3 weeks ago. That´s when President Costa decided to start helping D to get technical training and get a job. He called on the branch council to pull together their resources to find out about what opportunities there are for a deaf person in Lima. D works as a solderer in his dad´s shop, but we want him to get out of the house so that he can leave behind an addiction to internet gaming that he has. If he spends the majority of the day out working or studying, it won´t be that hard to get rid of the distraction. Two weeks ago, I got permission from the zone leaders in Tahuantinsuyo to call the missionaries there and get a hold of A before she goes on her mission. Yesterday, A and W traveled the 45 minutes out to Trapiche to meet D. The emotion in the room was high when A started to ask about D´s story, whether he was deaf at birth or later, where he studied, how much he knows, whether he would be willing to come to Tahuantinsuyo to go to sacrament meeting with W so they can strengthen each other. He was the most attentive I had ever seen him and he responded that he could try it. 

A has a plan to present to the area presidency tomorrow, the day before leaving for the mission. She wants to help the deaf members of the church to learn and understand the doctrines better so that they can stay active in the church. There’s a lot of deaf members like D, who haven´t been baptized or were baptized and fell away because they didn’t have the resources to continue learning without so much frustration. She said it would mean having a meeting in one of the stake centers of the north part of Lima to see how many deaf members are willing to participate and then teach them to work with the missionaries to find and activate the others. There would be training for ecclesiastical leaders and then there would be a solicitud (a request) to create a deaf branch for the north part of Lima. She estimates that currently there could be as many as 25 or 30 deaf members or family members in the several stakes here and she recognizes that if the plan is accepted, the area presidency might ask her to come back from her mission to spearhead the project. It´s so exciting to hear that something will be done soon to help them. I think one of the most exciting things is that I felt at peace about whether or not D would receive the help he needs to continue active in the church after the elders don´t visit three times a week. 

I haven´t really accepted that the mission will end yet. I don´t cry or stay up late thinking about it. I understand that it will, and the thought comes to me a lot, but I don´t dwell on it. I know time is short and I am giving absolutely everything, more than anything, I want the missionaries to understand why they are here. I want everyone to have an eternal perspective of the work that they are doing and to see that though the down times (the few that there are) can be fun, but only when contrasted with many days spent working very very hard. In order to really feel like the mission that we serve has been accepted, when we pronounce that prayer, we have to have given it all, we have to have put it all aside for the 2 years and really put our whole heart, mind, might and soul into the work. Only then is it a worthy sacrifice, even though it isn´t when it leaves our hands. When it leaves our hands, it´s a bundle of sweaty white shirts, and dirty tracting shoes, agendas filled up and hours under the sun. When it leaves His hands though, it´s a shining offering of people changed, lives transformed, repentance made, and souls touched. We can´t do it on our own, and until my last day in the mission, I can´t stop thanking Him for changing my sacrifice for His. 

I love you all, I know that time is short, but that doesn´t stop me from doing everything I can to take advantage of every last second.


Elder Nelson

Tuesday, January 6, 2015

Let the Lord take the Wheel...

Dear Familia,                                                                                                                                                   

So this week went by really fast. Now I fight the urge a little to just read your letters and not respond because it´s easier that way, but that’s a total taker and not a giver attitude. I think one of the things that I learned this week is that I can´t force the spiritual things, but when I just let go and trust in what the Lord has planned for me then the spirit just comes naturally.

One example of that is that we have R and L. They got married last month more or less this week and they have been really enthusiastically listening to us and we are super sure they will get baptized eventually. The only problem is that we had a date set and they still don´t feel comfortable taking that big of a decision. That has two consequences: first, they will be much better prepared when they decide to be baptized and will stay active in the church longer, hopefully even getting married eventually. Second, the date we set (the 10th) will probably pass without them being baptized. That´s hard because we have goals and plans set, but we understand that at the end of the day, what is most important is that repentance occurs, justice is satisfied, and mercy takes effect. They will likely get baptized either the following week or the week of the 24th. That´s just fine by me, and I think it´s given me the opportunity to reflect on how things have changed since I entered the offices.

When I entered the offices, we had a focus on prophesying the baptismal date to the people and making it a firm date and getting them to the font in the way that was possible. Now, however, obviously we set goals with the investigators, but it´s all more based on Doctrine and Covenants 20:37, helping the investigators realize the need to be baptized and actually experimenting faith, repentance, baptism, knowing how the Holy Ghost communicates with them and having that determination to endure to the end and not just do it because the elders are insisting. I won´t say that there weren't real converts beforehand, but now we are more focused on making sure that the people we baptize are prepared to accept the full responsibility of being an active member of the church.

Another miracle that happened this week is that a young adult that´s a recent convert´s sister came to church for the second time in a row. We had already planned to pass by their house on Sunday, but we made extra sure to pass because we had taught her and her boyfriend a few times, but they couldn’t progress because he didn’t have any interest. Well, when we set the appointment to go by I asked her what her boyfriend’s name was and she said that he doesn´t live there anymore, he went back home to his own apartment and that´s why she could come to church now. Her name is J and she´s absolutely golden, without us asking her, she got a copy of the Book of Mormon from her brother and started to read from the start. We taught lesson 1 about the restoration and at the end of the lesson she said she wouldn´t need to pray because she already knew that the church is true. She asked us to visit them daily if possible, and it works really well because she is renting the apartment next to her brother and sister-in-law’s. She has a goal to be baptized the first week of February. I guess more than anyone, she was the answer to leaving things to the Lord. We had talked to them about the need to be married something like three weeks ago, but didn’t come to any conclusions, but she took it to the Lord and came up with a decision on her own time.  So So inspiring!

I love you all and hope you are letting the Lord work in your lives. Sometimes we just have to let go and let Him take control for a little bit to verify that we are on the right path. Have a great week and I'll write again Monday!


Elder Nelson

 An excerpt from my letter to president and pictures of me with a couple of mission friends at the end of mission council:

As for my personal growth, I am seeing more and more the ways in which I have changed throughout these two years. I have spent some time seriously reflecting on the things that have happened and changed me and more than anything, thanking the Lord for the changes He has made in my personality and character. I know it wouldn´t have been possible to develop the strength that I have now on my own, and that being in the mission is what made the difference. Now my goal is to leave this area prepared to receive whoever comes, ready to work with the members, to move the work forward and really just to enjoy helping others to come to Christ. I don´t want to be a missionary that finishes "trunky", so I´ve taken the conscious decision to work til the very last day that I have, and give everything I can back to the Lord because I truly am indebted, with a debt that I will never be able to repay.

Elder Underwood

There´s me with Elder L(tall brown hair) me with Elder D (redhead all the way from my first zone, one of my best friends) me with Elder P (he´s from Guayaquil, from Elder G´s ward and in Kolby´s mission) and me with Elder U, also one of my best friends here.
Elder Dansie

Elder Piguave
Elder Lee

Sunday, January 4, 2015

Dani's baptism

Hola familia,

I think this may be one of the first weeks where I don´t really know what to write. The call was good, it was great to see you all, just kind of don´t know what to say, I´m working hard and helping people realize some pretty big changes in their lives. Fighting the disobedience that always seems to creep into the mission and consequently in the zone. But you now I don´t like to talk about that. I think one of the easiest things to do in this month I have left is to study every day. It´s been a solid part of my morning and one of the other things I have really stepped into as well is daily exercise. Maybe the hardest for me is to demonstrate patience with investigators or missionaries that just don´t get it. I don´t mean that I blow up or anything, but it´s been a little easier to just be very direct and tell people how things are and how they have to be.

For example, I think I told you about O. He is the recent convert that fell from the 4th floor of a building he was working on building to the 2nd floor. Well he spent probably around a month unconscious and when he woke up he couldn´t move due to have crushed his ankle and broken his hip falling laterally. Now that we are removed from that a little, he has started to walk with a lot of difficulty. We are ecstatic for his physical process. For the majority of his recuperation, he has be even stronger spiritually, relying on his testimony of the priesthood to be able to recover, but last week we didn’t visit him. In fact, we hadn’t visited him for a week and a half or so. During that lapse of time, the members from the (another church) (yep it exists here too, under a different name) where he had gone before, visited him and stuffed his head full of falsehoods about Joseph Smith and the Book of Mormon. It was so hard to head into the lesson thinking would work on his faith and see that he wanted to return to his other church and that he hadn´t even prayed before making the decision.

We taught a little bit, clarifying the false doctrine that they had fed him and got a lesson set for the next day. When we went back the next day, he was still pretty set on not coming back and he still hadn´t really prayed to know the truth, but we taught lesson 1 about the restoration so clearly there wasn´t room for error and the spirit filled the room. I felt like some kind of old-time prophet giving testimony before the judgment of the Sanhedrin and we finished with a rock solid testimony. He committed to come to church on Sunday and take the sacrament in an attitude of prayer.

He didn´t come to church on Sunday, which was really disappointing, but we are going back to his house today to see what happened.

D was baptized and confirmed, no problems. He says that he felt really forgiven and that after a long time it was good to be forgiven of his sins. The elders quorum president called for everyone to focus on making him feel welcome. I sent pictures of him with his family as well as of me, Elder N and D


I love you all, sorry for the weird, wandering letter. Hold on even tighter to the rod this week, "no sea que el diablo viene y les prende con las cadenas del pecado (o mal información)" That it might not be that the devil comes and confuses us with his wild ideas and twisted plans. Take care until next week!


Elder Nelson

Saturday, December 27, 2014

Qué necesito hacer para prepararme para un bautismo?

Dear Familia,                                                                                                      

Things are going great this week, not much really to report that I can’t tell you in the call this week. I have been thinking and even though I love Kolby a ton and can´t wait to see him, If we can´t organize having a little bit of our calls this Thursday together then it doesn´t bother me too much, it is looking like it would take a ton of coordinating, and I don´t want it to be a stressful occasion.  I will probably be calling more around 5:45 Lima time, just to be sure. We are going to the Branch President´s house to do the call, but we are going at the same time as the other two elders, and so I’m not sure exactly in what order we will be calling. I figure I´ll give the priority to Elder T (this is his first call...after 5 months). 

As for Lima Christmas traditions, there’s turkey for dinner, and hot chocolate to drink, with Fruitcake (panetón), they sing Christmas carols in church, but there´s only like two songs that they sing outside of the Christmas hymns, so Christmas radio gets a little stale. They sing "Navidad, Navidad, Hoy es Navidad" to the tune of jingle bells, and they also sing feliz navidad. There´s a lot of versions of the two of them but that´s about all there is. I am so grateful for the English language and the many many songwriters that help us enjoy a variety of secular and religious Christmas melodies!

R and L are starting to take a greater interest in the baptism we have planned for the 10th of January. When we first put the date, they were a little skeptical. They didn’t want to say no, because they really do see themselves in the church in the future, but they didn’t want to say yes either because they aren´t sure about entering so soon. This last week, we had a family night with them and after watching the Finding Faith in Christ video, Hermana R started to ask questions about baptism, the first real interest she´s shown in a few weeks. She asked about if baptism has to be done laying back into the water and then if they were to get baptized if it would be the three of them on the same day. The last question she asked is what has us all excited. She asked "Qué necesito hacer para prepararme para un bautismo?" AHHH! It was so exciting to see that she is starting to accept the idea and try to prepare herself. She is really the key in this family because she had the most doubts due to her heavy Catholic background.

This week is D´s baptism. He has come a long way since having just a simple desire to be baptized without any real understanding of the ordinance to now when he understands why and a lot of the requirements to get to that point. His mom went to the mountain region this last week because his grandma is sick, and usually that would have meant that he wouldn´t go to church because being deaf it´s not really that much of a draw to him without his mom who can explain things without him having to read lips. We passed by his house in the morning and asked him to come to church with his brother and at first he said no, but then he said he would come to show that he wants to be baptized. He came and even stayed after his brother left after the second hour. Hopefully the branch members catch on that they need to help him become an independent church member to keep him active.

Tell dad that when I read about Cuba it reminded me of the conference we had with Elder Christiansen a year and a half ago. He talked about organizing the first branch in Cuba and visiting the first time with the Book of Mormon to tell them that it was their manual, the second time he came, they were all in suits and ties. He asked what made the difference from the first to the second visit, and they said that in the first visit they saw that a general authority wears a suit and tie, so when he came again, they already knew that that is what the Lord expects in His church. We have so much to learn from the general authorities, and sometimes we take for granted to lessons we can learn in how they interact with people when they visit different parts of the church in the world.

I love you all, can´t wait to talk on Thursday and I hope that everything is going well on Christmas prep. Try not to spoil Melissa before I get home, I´ve got to do my share as well :).


Elder Nelson


Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Perseverance and Signs

Dear Familia,                                                                                                                                                              
I might go to the temple before Christmas, but I doubt it. The thing is that the temple here in Lima will be closing in the new year, but we don´t know exactly when, probably sometime in January. I hope to go, but if I don´t, I went during my last few weeks in the offices as well.

As for Elder H, well of course he remembers Kolby, so do Elder T (lived in the same house I think he said) and Elder F. Elder T says that his parents want to contact you just to say hi and swap stories; they´re from Spokane Valley. I´d say that if Kolby is making as few errors as he says then maybe he could be even more advanced than them.  The three of them are still with their trainers except Elder F. They speak rapidly but make mistakes, which really is a good combination, because you can´t really teach speed, but you can correct errors. Elder H says that Kolby and him always played against the Latin districts in soccer and usually won haha, he also said about some plans to go to a Sounders game in 2016/2017 (he´s from Bothell), sounds like he made a lasting friendship.

Wow, Colin is already home, I think S P should probably be pretty close too, if not already home. I think the wave of my friends should already be starting to come home, and maybe come April/May it'll be at the height of the movement. There´s a lot to think about between now and then, but I´m staying focused during the week.

You shouldn´t need shots or water purifying tablets to come to Perú. Water obviously is only safe when it´s bottled or boiled, but it´s about 1 sol (30 cents) for a bottle, and theirs stores on every block to buy from. Shots...well there´s not really mosquitos in Lima, there are...but very few and according to the doctors before the mission, it´s well outside the malaria zone.

Well this week we had a great experience and a frustrating one, but determination to fix things up. The great experience was that R and L got married. Wahoo! We left the area at 9:30 to get to center of Lima at 11:00 for the wedding. They went through the line to get to the register clerk and signed their papers, Elder N and I were the witnesses so we signed next and then the ceremony of the actual wedding happened. The frustrating experience happened later that night when we passed by their house to pick up a piece of cake to go...their family members, whom they had told that they don´t drink, brought alcohol, and they were already a little tipsy by the time we got there. It was so disappointing to know that they willingly, albeit with pressure, chose to disobey a commandment they had just learned. So no baptism this week, or next. We are hoping for maybe the 27th or in January. We have a plan this week to visit them frequently and help them to see the error and get ready for a different baptismal date. They got over one hump and baptism is next!

We are also teaching D. He´s Deaf, but learned to speak through 13 years of therapy. He´s also 22 years old and the son of a member. His dad isn´t a member, but his brother and sister are, and they have been really supportive in being able to help him come to church and listen to us. I don´t know if I told you about W in Tahuantinsuyo, but the sisters there taught and baptized a deaf/mute there too and I ended up learning a few signs related to gospel things. Well, for a good reason, because now I am learning more signs than ever! D is also preparing for the 27th of this month and he understands everything soooo well. About 4 years ago he decided to start reading the bible and studying "how to be good" as he terms it, and now we have him reading the Book of Mormon and watching videos online. The good thing is that he reads lips incredibly well and while he isn´t the most patient of investigators, he catches all of what we teach. He´s awesome and it´s so cool to see someone that hasn´t understood the gospel before outside of a few basic explanations or videos from Easter week come to understand the great plan that´s been prepared for us!

I love you all, I am super happy to be here and to be helping people realize their goals to have happy families and to recognize the help they receive from their Father in Heaven.


Elder Nelson

Also, I set up the Christmas tree you sent and took some pictures :) Enjoy

Monday, December 8, 2014

Obedience Brings Happiness...It's the Only Way!

Dear Familia,                                                                                                                                                                     

We too got to see the Christmas devotional, however, we were out teaching just before and got to the stake center late (we are the furthest except for one companionship) just in time to catch from 8:30 forward. It was inspiring and definitely a golden opportunity to bring investigators and less actives to see it.

This week we did a work visit for the afternoon on Friday and Elder H came to my area. Yes, Elder Hthat Kolby knew in the CCM in Mexico. He as well as Elder F and Elder T are in my zone and well, with three of us from Washington, there´s quite a bit to joke about. Elder H has the same time as Kolby does obviously, and it was a good visit to have with the branch council and also a couple of lessons to people that we haven´t been able to teach in a while. We taught this lady that we have been teaching for a while, but she just doesn´t seem to want to make decisions. She has a boyfriend who is a trucker, and he comes into town maybe once a week or every two weeks, and obviously she can´t get baptized if that´s happening. She has a super strong desire to be baptized, she´s reading the book of Mormon actively, she hasn´t come to church in a couple of weeks because he has been in town on Sunday for some weeks. He´s from a different church and honestly I don´t think I´ve met another adult as childish as him. He says that he can´t get married with her because that´s a lot of work, he sometimes makes up sicknesses while he´s on the road so she will send him money and worry about him, when she calls about what we are teaching her, he says that she´s only doing it because we are two young men (she’s around 55). Well, they fought over the phone again the other day and on top of that, her daughter who is 19 ran away leaving her two year old son behind so that she could do what she wants, drinking and hanging out with a bunch of questionable men. We testified strongly that all of these things come from not keeping the law of chastity in the first place, but it still doesn´t seem to have gotten to her. I just don´t know why people don´t understand that keeping the commandments is the only way that they are ever going to find happiness. Well, that´s kind of been the theme for this week, admonishing and warning people of the consequences of sin. We are still working with R and L, they should be getting married this weekend and then baptized the next week hopefully.

I love you all, sorry for the short week, but I had to devirus my companions USB and do a few other informes for the #HeistheGift campaign. Hopefully next week it´ll calm down a bit. Next week, I´ll try to tell you when I will be calling so we can coordinate with Kolby.


Elder Nelson