Monday, April 29, 2013



Dear Family,                                                                                                         

So for a time reference, I just got the dearelders from Melissa and from Grandma and Grandpa Andy. I loved getting them especially because they are the first written mail I’ve gotten in country. Things travel pretty slowly especially because I am in the farthest zone in Lima from the offices.  Clarification of mission rules. They can write me, I just can´t respond. I love getting news and reading from them, but I’m not able to reply and I don´t want them thinking I’m just being rude. So yeah totally whoever wants to can write, just that I won´t be responding unless it’s a paper letter. If you could explain slash reexplain that to whoever has sent me emails that would be great, and I think there’s a couple more emails in my box from other people. :)
Our Apartment.  My bed is in the foreground.
bistec a la pobre.  An elderly sister made this for us.
She is a lot like a Grandma Nelson to the missionaries.
(*From Peggy:  It is best to send dearelder letters to Elder Nelson so he doesn't have to use his precious computer time to read multiple emails.  The dearelder letters are printed off and he can read and respond to them when he has time away from the computer on P-days.  He gets them easily and loves receiving paper letters!) 

I had my first baptism yesterday, it was Julia, and her whole family that are members were able to make it. I did it because Elder Arce said I would be doing it, and that Julia chose me because of the similar circumstance of her son. I felt the spirit super strong through the program even though things kept going wrong (no extra white shirt, a speaker came 30 minutes late, Peru Mormon Standard Time, there’s no heated water for the font) I just felt happy that she could start to be an eternal family in just one year and that she chose this first step. She bore her testimony about how her missionary son had always been telling her she needed to get baptized and how she is always thinking of him now after the ordinance.  Attendance was really great, we filled up the room that they have baptisms in and there were people standing in the back. Here, the people go by Sister Julia or Brother Frank. It’s kind of cool to think of how that’s how people called Brother Joseph whenever I get a chance to reflect.

This is to show Kolby how hard I work at soccer on P-days.
  I scored a goal, too.
Foreign currency is super easy, and I always make sure if I reference it in my journal that I put about how much it would be in dollars and cents so I can remember. Also I write every day in my journal...that’s super important. It’s one of a few things that I plan on not leaving in the mission field. I will write a journal throughout my lifetime because not only do I want to remember but I want others to learn from it. I have plenty to last each month, and I haven’t tried to access my bank at all, so if there’s been a change...yeah that’s bad. We have contact every 3 months with President and Sister Blunck more or less and so I don´t think I will see them again during the mission because they go home in July. They are strict, but for good reason, and I understand the rules they have. All of it is inspired and for our good. My zone is a lot of fun and we spend every Pday together as a group playing soccer or going places.  I have a lot to learn from them.  

Three Generations:
Elder Nelson (l), Elder Arces (r), and his trainer (c)
Travel is in taxis and buses, no mototaxis (jeepnies) here because of safety, but in the jungle yes, because there aren’t as many cars and buses on the roads. We walk everywhere within the zone and only use transportation to get to the offices, like I did this week for finalizing my ID with Interpol...I have a Peruvian ID!!! It pretty much says I’m a missionary and I'll leave when I’m done, but it’s pretty cool anyway. The temple was all in Spanish no headsets, but I was fine. There was even a sister going through to go on her mission sometime! It’s a pretty huge temple with a distribution center below where I was able to buy a bunch of things for teaching in Spanish. There’s a hotel inside the compound as well as the cafeteria. Just our zone went, but we ran into a group of missionaries coming out so I get the feeling that there are missionaries like every other session or pretty even all day.

For Skype, if you create an account and send me the info I can Skype you from a member’s home or from an internet cafe. There will be a pre-call and then the Skype call and I’m not positive how much time I will have, but I will be getting all the times and things down. I will coordinate with my companion when we can do it. I don’t have a ton of questions for you all, other than does life go on haha, but I’m sure when I see you there will be. Also my CROSS pen is running out of ink a little, and I wondered if when you get the chance to send an envelope you could send refills, the info is in the pen box on my desk.

The conference with Elder Christianson was great if I haven’t mentioned that. The choir went smoothly and Elder Christianson greeted everyone after it was all over. He said that you would be proud of how it went and that he could see me directing motab someday. Ha yeah right :) I took a ton of notes that I will have to share when I get the chance, but the biggest few things were to not leave your mission here in Peru, and to remember that our job is to apply the atonement to everyone we meet.

I Love you all, I hope that the blessings from my mission reach you, and I pray for you individually often. Please pray for those people that don´t believe in the book of Mormon. There’s a lot of that here, and it’s only because they won’t even open it up to read the first few words. Read it every day, it’s the most powerfully life changing book ever to come from the hand of man through the inspiration of God.


Elder Nelson

Monday, April 22, 2013

The Cockroach in the Shower

Panorama of Zona Magnolias, in Lima Peru

Dear Family,                                                                                                                          April 22, 2013

So the keyboard I am typing on today doesn´t really do capitals so well, so sorry mom, or whoever else take a turn editing my letters...this one is gonna take some work.

That story was so great! We have missed appointments literally every day, and some days it is every single appointment all day. It can be discouraging but we just keep at it. Dad asked if there was anyone I could ask you all to pray for other than me. Interestingly, while I was in the temple I honestly couldn’t pray for myself. I just couldn’t come up with anything to pray for to help myself or help with things, so I prayed for you my family, I prayed for Darci and Joe, I prayed for Braden in finals and his other pursuits, I prayed for Kolby and his upcoming decisions, for Melissa and her problems with being excited about dances )love ya sis ;) I then prayed for my companion and our investigators. Really it was a really good prayer. I felt great afterwards and it was like normal again. Since then, I’ve been trying to focus on others when I pray. Prayer is a lot like the priesthood like that, its best used when we use it to bless others. Anyway, we have an investigator family, the Ramos family. The wife can’t get a paper for her marriage from her district and also her sister had a pretty serious accident a few weeks ago. Her sister is in a neighboring ward, but Maritza is just really buried in all of this and can´t think of getting married anytime soon. They’ve been investigating for about 4 months. Their daughter (about15) didn’t believe in God before they started investigating and is starting to try to gain a testimony, but Satan is working really hard on this one, I just know it’s because they would be soooo strong if they could be baptized. So yeah, they could use a few prayers for strengthening their faith.

My companion is still pretty fresh and so there’s a lot of things that we both learn as we go. The biggest thing is that he is good for me and I for him. He doesn´t know English hardly at all, but it’s a mission goal to learn, so we try to teach each other. The biggest achievement so far with him has been learning to pray in English. We made a sort of card with common phrases like ¨we ask that thou wilt bless¨ and then other things that he might say afterwards. The main thing is trying to synthesize his own prayer, but with English words. We get along well. He went to college to be an advertiser before, and college starts at 16 or 17 here so he’s almost done even though he turns 20 on the 2nd. He comes from 4 hours north in Barranca and so he knows the metro area of Lima pretty well, just not the Lima North mission especially. the Zoo, we hope :)
Experience time in the last 5 minutes or so. I had a battle in the shower the other day. I would send a picture of the roach that I couldn’t see because I didn’t have my glasses on. Just a blur running around the shower floor while I was trying to shower. Last time I ever walk to the shower and just start without checking first.  It’s about the size of my thumb to the second knuckle. The bishop’s family made stovetop salty popcorn for me the other night. So I’ve officially had popcorn that wasn’t ruined like my science project, but still cooked in the same way haha. Last, I went to Interpol with the other Americans to get fingerprinted and photographed and my teeth checked out. They met us in the CCM, so I made it to the CCM here too. What a coincidence right? It took all day, and I got back after not having eaten all day at 9 or 9-40, I was beat, but we just bought a typical dinner from a tienda, soda and ritz crackers...not the best I know, but its Peru haha. I love this place.

I’m going to try to send more pictures in another email so this will be it.

Love you all!!!

Elder Nelson

Sunday, April 21, 2013


Hola Familia!

Mom, our ward is strong, and even experiences some of the troubles of wards in the United States, though there are also the problems associated with being in a different country as well. We have correlation meetings hit and miss, but I attend the gospel doctrine class and priesthood with the elders. I think all the young men are together. The ward has one sister out and two elders with two more before I leave the area I think. Wait to send the Ensign in English until I know whether or not I will get one from the mission, but I’m pretty sure that I won’t.

Congrats to Jessica on the mission call, I’m so happy for her and the opportunity she’s wanted to serve the Lord for a long time and I’m glad she has this chance.  On the same note, wahoo  for Dallin! I’m stoked he’s in the field and happy he’s choosing to serve as well. The biggest challenge now is to be obedient in spite of everything else after the MTC. There’s a lot of little things that missionaries do that aren’t obedient. They aren’t necessarily bad, and they can still be successful missionaries, but I know deep down that they aren’t as successful as they could be otherwise because it’s the little things that impede us from fulfilling that Godly potential we have. 

I went to the temple with my zone today, but forgot my camera at home, so there won’t be any pictures with this letter, sorry. Additionally I forgot the paper that I had with things to write you about written on it, so I’m just winging it. This week we had our first really solid commitment to baptism by way of Julia. She’s the mother of a missionary going to Paraguay who just arrived in his field of labor. She has been super worried and actually kind of broken about him leaving because he is her last at home and she’s widowed. She took the lessons starting two weeks ago and next Sunday (28th) she will get the American :) I’m so glad we have the gospel and that I know you aren´t terribly upset I’m on a mission, that you understand the purpose of me being here and the incredible experiences that I’m having. She was one of those golden investigators that we couldn’t teach fast enough.

Other questions to answer:

Yes I write from a cafe, and no I don´t get to print my letters in the morning

I write sometime around 10 in the morning or 11 usually, but it’s something like east coast time here.

Short sleeves all the time, it is HOT, but not uncomfortable. Suits only for church, temple, and president.

In church meetings I don´t really participate, it’s more like finding our investigators and making sure they get to class, and catching the second half of class.

I bore my testimony on the spot during my first Sunday here, but there’s really only been one ¨normal¨´ Sunday here. I don´t know whether we will get asked to speak or not, but I don’t think so.

Food is almost all the time rice potatoes and chicken, occasionally mixed up with a potato soup or fried fish, we never cook for ourselves because we don’t have a kitchen. We eat lunch with members and dinner is snacks at various members or investigators that they offer when we visit. It’s kind of a hospitality thing.

I didn’t volunteer for choir, but it seems to be coming together. There are a couple first timers and so it’s kind of exciting

That’s all I have time for, so I hope a picture is kind of coming together.

Kolby: spend some time with Melissa specially this week if you have any to spare. Especially try to beat her in monopoly for me ;)

Love you all and love reading from you (thanks dad!)


Elder Nelson

Monday, April 8, 2013

Be Prepared

His black nametag...and the one Kolby and Melissa
made for him as he left the Tri-Cities.

Dear Family,                                                                                                                                      

So first an experience. Last night we went to a less active members house to give a lesson about perseverance, he had been in the hospital with a weak heart and so we were visiting to check on that as well.  He listened to the lesson, gave his testimony and then committed his family to be at church without us even asking him. WOW!! So yeah then after that, his daughter that lives with him, about 40 years old, asks us to give him a blessing of health. Elder Arce anointed him and then he asked me to give the Spanish. I did it, and the thing is I felt even more guided than in my blessing to Carrie because I needed to literally know the words. So yeah, always be prepared to do that, you priesthood holders out there. Then we went and taught a lesson to a member, the bishop’s mother in law. Outside her house as we were about to walk home, a member stopped us and said she had a reference for right then. SO we followed her to this little garage house where a nonmember with low hemoglobin was in pretty good pain. We gave her a blessing, told her husband she would also need real medical help and then got an appointment for this week on Wednesday. I looked at this one as a blessing of the obedience that we have been striving for. Braden was right, there are a lot of missionaries here that just don´t know why they are on missions.  

My companion is Peruvian from the city of Barranca, roughly 4 hours north of here. We live about three blocks from the chapel in a room and a half house. Two beds, two desks, a bathroom and a couple of racks for clothes. It’s not much but its home. Before I forget we also can´t write anyone else but our family in this mission for the time being. Apparently that announcement hasn’t gotten here yet, and there was a memo sent to each zone about it. We don’t cook or do laundry, we have a pensionista, but we eat our main meal with member families and we’ve eaten only once or twice with our pensionista, she is more of a landlord than a "mom".  Every visit we are offered food at the investigators house or wherever else we are at, so we really only have one sit-down meal per day at lunch.

Streets are paved, but sidewalks are dirt usually, so there’s dust everywhere, just like home sometimes, but its inside as well. My companion is going to Argentina Cordova when he finishes training me, we hope at least. Visa issues are worldwide. There’s only one transfer after I’m trained that I could be transferred to the selva (selva=jungle) because in June all of the jungle areas become the Iquitos mission. I hope that I go out there instead of training, but wherever I’m supposed to be is just fine. We go to the temple about every three months, and I haven’t gone yet, maybe when I go into Independencia. I´ve been chosen to direct a missionary choir from our mission when Elder Craig C. Christianson visits next month so I was focusing pretty well on the conductor at conference.

Pictures are big and slow to load, so I had to get rid of some. Happy birthday to Melissa, I hope she goes to  dances, they’re important opportunities ;)

I am starting to give lessons yes, and talking some, trying at least. People are patient and English is taught in the schools here, so that’s good. I actually understand young adults best because they speak at a moderate speed and don’t mumble yet. Kids talk super fast and grandparents mumble pretty bad. It was a pretty big arriving group yeah, only 4 Americans in the group, which is kind of a typical slice of the mission itself.

Hugo and Clorinda, the Bishop's family,
and Juan and Maritza Ramos family
The picture this time is of a family night with two investigator families. >Juan and Maritza Ramos on the right and Hugo and <Clorinda on the left, and the bishops family in the middle.

Well I better wrap this up because it’s time to go to the zoo ;) Last P-day we played soccer, I played defense and keeper just like Braden…haha.

I love you all, conference was great, and all in Spanish sin (except) hymns so I didn´t quite get the phrases that mom sent, but I hope to get a copy in English for review, a gringo can hope right?


Elder Nelson

Monday, April 1, 2013

The First Post from PERU!!

Dear Family,                                                                                                                                                                                    

Elder Nelson and Elder Arce
Here it is, the first letter from Peru! So as you all may have thought this week was absolutely jam packed! I stayed the first night in the apartment of the secretaries with about 8 other missionaries from zona independencia, and slept the remaining 5 hours until 7 am. We had a meeting at 7:30 with the president and assistants about health and safety in Peru, and we also had interviews. There was only one American from the bus from the CCM here, and he looked like he had a rough go of it because of not knowing the language super well. I'm not completely lost in that respect. I can speak with members as long as they aren't excited...that’s when words start to just pour out of their mouths. Also please excuse my typing. This keyboard is Spanish and I’m not used to it. After interviews we had pizza with the group of trainers that had arrived during training and then we had the changes meeting. My trainer is Elder Arce from Barranca, Lima District. We are serving in Buenos Aires Area of Zona Magnolias. He is waiting for his visa to go to Argentina and only has had 4 months in the mission. He says it’s likely that I will train immediately following my first 12 weeks and then go out to the jungle, where there are more than one kind of snakes (young women) He speaks about 25 phrases of English total and I am teaching him more because that’s the goal for Latino missionaries, to learn English as we Americans learn Spanish. The taxi ride to our area took about 40 minutes and then we dropped my bags and got to work.


This week the goal is to make 100 contacts while maintaining our pool of about 5 investigators and 2 whole families. We also have a few families of recent converts that we are visiting regularly as well. The next to get married then baptized are Juan y Maritza. They live in a 3 room apartment, which is kind of upper middle class here I think. Some live in one room shacks built really well into the side of the hill. Others have multiple rooms in their apartments and still others own a bank of apartments for themselves and their extended families. Juan and Maritza will be married the 19th and baptized the 20th. Baptisms or marriages happen about every two or three weeks, so the work is moving forward pretty quickly. Drinking is a problem here, but not among those that we are teaching really. I had daisy tea for the first time, and this thing that was in a corn husk (not a tamale, I asked) and no worries that tea didn’t have tea plant in it, really only flavored hot water. Everyone drinks lots of coca cola and inca cola, and we can´t stop at an apartment without the people offering drinks and crackers. Everything is super cheap too. The exchange is like 2.35 soles to 1 dollar, and a sol can buy a small snack like a drink and packet of crackers. Most of the food is really good. A typical meal includes boiled potatoes, a heap of rice, tomatoes soaked in lime and some kind of meat, fried chicken or fish usually. Also, ceviche is a big no no for missionaries and nuts are really uncommon in the cooking, so that’s really good.


Weather is humid, a little warm for my taste. It’s about 70 or 75 during the day and 55 or so at night, and really comfortable then. We walk everywhere in our little area and the common job is taxi driver. Traffic is absolutely crazy! I don't think I've seen any accidents either, and that’s even crazier. People drive slower than on Keene, but they drive close and they don’t stop for anyone, which is only a problem on the bigger streets. Today I saw a dog get hit by a bus, and just run screaming away (redact that for grandma’s sake) there are dogs absolutely everywhere, and none look right, mixes of breeds like a poodle head with the body of a dachshund. I have only been confronted with one, and I accidentally kicked it when it got too close, a reflex I promise...most dogs run if you yell “afuera!” at them. Uhhh I don't know what else to write, so send me questions. I am attaching a few pictures of our room and also of some street sights.


I love you all. It sounds like the major thing from the other emails I received is to have faith. That’s big here as well. If I don't have faith to learn the language or the area, how am I supposed to get anything done. Life as a whole is an act of faith because no one knows how everything works out, but it does! Congrats to Darci and Joe on the fabulous internships achievements. Also to Kolby for his soccer and keeping the grades up.



Elder Nelson