Monday, May 27, 2013

The Wedding Planner :)

Dear family,                                                                                                                         
Juan and Maritza
A question for Jackson, Did he know a hermana Arcos during his mission? Her sister lives in our ward and the hermana will be getting married somewhere near BYU soon.

The biggest news this week is that we found out that Maritza doesn’t need her birth certificate until at most two weeks after the wedding. SO she got married to Juan on Saturday. Wahoo! That was almost all week that we spent in the municipality getting her papers all ready and legalized and health checks and all kinds of other fun stuff. I will really know how to marry people when I get home, if you catch my drift.  The mission put on the wedding in the stake building just north of my area and so Elder Arce and I went up about two hours before it all started to help with prep and so that I could be there for the choir...again. This time I had about 4 days preparation with only one practice. Thankfully all were returning choir members and I wasn´t director. Three elders and 4 hermanas in the group. We sang Families Can Be Forever in Spanish and then verse one again in English, and the hermanas were all latina so they had a fun time learning to pronounce Earth. Elder Arce has a video of it, and so I will get that from him maybe this week. We are thinking of just swapping memory cards during a computer time so we can exchange fotos and videos of the choir performance. The wedding was great, and the stake president spoke before the officials did their spiel. He spoke about the importance of having a selfless attitude in marriage and looking for the good in each other to the point of not being able to find the faults. It was really powerful.

Yesterday was their baptism. But the first test was if they would come to church again on Sunday. They did, but the doors of the church close during Sacrament, and they made it like two minutes before. I had been reading this week in Jesus the Christ about the parable of the ten virgins, how at the day of judgment even the church will be divided as to whom will be saved and who won´t be. When the doors close for sacrament and literally three minutes later there’s two or three families waiting outside in the cold (read 60 degrees...yeah I’m accustomed)) I had this overwhelming feeling of sadness, like that’s how it will be, we are partaking of the sacrament and the others just didn’t quite make it. I felt really pained about that because they’re members too, right? Anyway, little perspective check there.
I baptized the dad, Elder Arce baptized Maritza, and Elder Garcia got permission to come baptize the daughters. It was a great example of ward participation when the relief society put together a musical number and the leaders of every group were there to support this new family. Afterward the family each bore their testimony and more than anything the testimony of Brenda hit me. She didn’t believe in God before ad so this was huge. She got up and said how she was nervous during the afternoon before the baptism but when she left with her family she felt just this pure feeling of love come over her, and then again after she left the water. BAM! Hit by the spirit like a ton of...blankets haha. They are such a golden family, and I can see them continuing active in the church for the rest of their lives. That night they invited the brother and sister in law of Maritza to the next Sunday to see them confirmed. Already doing missionary work!

I don’t use my earplugs because I’ve just gotten used to the sound of the cityscape outside, it’s actually pretty normal and when I get home it will be strange to have any silence. I use the drops occasionally, (drops to make the water taste like lemonade) but the big news is that I bought an electric kettle this week so I can have manzanilla (chamomile) and anís (anise) and leche de gloria (glory milk) because its pretty cold out. For the refills for my pen, black would be best, but if it’s the other pen I can take either, I just need one or two black for official papers. In the area we have more or less two areas, the hill and everything else. Everything else is about 10 times the size of the hill, so they are pretty receptive, but really we do most of our work through the members references. The people on the hill are super impoverished and so they have lots of time usually and so that’s always good to be able to get in with them and show them how the gospel can help them lift themselves up in more ways than material.

All of the Lima missions go to the temple more or less every 3 months so that’s always good. Mission Lima East I think has sierra and city. Congrats to Christian and one more similarity between us apart from birthdays. That’s just sooooo cool. One more Tri-Citian in Lima.

Thanks to dad and Braden for their letters as well and I received the dearelder from Melissa from before Mother’s Day on the last P-Day, so that’s a good gauge of time for ya.
I love hearing from you and I feast on every letter. In this area we can´t print letters but sometimes I want to print parts for review, so I guess in another area maybe that will be possible.

I love you all, take care of each other and keep in contact with one another, the family is the most important thing in the work here and it should be the goal of our lives to strengthen those eternal bonds.


Elder Nelson


Also the food picture is of cau’s a little like the goulash that I made back at the Y. mmmmm rico :)

Monday, May 20, 2013

Turn Outwards

Dear Family,                                                                                                                            

So much news from you all this week! It feels a little like the day after fast Sunday after last week’s letter. Also a warning, I’m on the computer with problems with the letter t again, so please excuse that.

First a little bit of an experience. We have been working with a family of Catholics recently, Juan and Maritza. They have been investigating for 5 months, and waiting all 5 for a copy of Maritza´s birth certificate to come through the system so they can get married. Well this Saturday will be a massive marriage and this Saturday will be a massive baptism. That means three different zones will have all of their couples married in the morning and baptized in the evening. It´s going to be really sweet to see all of the couples making this decision for their families and starting their paths to the temple. The only problem is that if you don´t have a couple to marry, you don´t attend. Maritzas certificate still hasn’t come and so it’s getting kind of close. Please pray that it arrives in time. They want to get married and are willing to live the commandments of the church it’s just that the adversary works really really hard when we start to do things right. Her older daughter (22) even made the decision on her own to attend church even though it means quitting her job she has right now. That is huge. She has really struggled with giving us time to visit because she only rests one day a week and this decision means she won’t work for a while. She also has a pretty Catholic boyfriend who she wants to move forward towards marriage with, but she knows that the temple blessings wouldn´t apply if he doesn´t join as well, and he doesn’t really have an interest. She’s showing a lot of faith right now, and Satan has been attacking the health of their extended family ever since they started to really progress.

We´ve decided to change our room to the first floor of a house that is owned by an abuela of a missionary bound for Spain. Every week in our current room, our neighbors above have one or two parties, and it always seems to fall on a day when we have to get up early to hacer tramites for Elder Arce´s visa or go collect investigators for church.  It will be a little smaller, but definitely quieter (he beds are on the interior of the home) and so I’m glad for the move. It’s also like kity corner from the church, so it’s really convenient for meetings and baptisms and such. She and her husband aren’t members, so there’s also that kind of built in investigator deal. It´s been approved by the zone leaders so we will start moving in a week or two.

In answer to dad´s questions about pensionistas: 
They don´t clean or cook for us, but we do give our clothes to the president of the relief society for cleaning. She doesn´t iron, but usually if I have worn the shirt for an hour of study it doesn´t need it because everything is handwashed and then hung dried. A pensionista provides breakfast and dinner, nothing more, but sometimes doubles as the sister who washes the clothes and in extreme cases (the neighboring ward) also cuts your hair for free. I’m just a touch jealous haha. Elder Arce is just 8 months older than me, more or less. He had his birthday the 2nd of May. We get plenty from the mission to cover our needs and also a churro now and then. I am using the skills you taught me about how to use money responsibly, and it comes as a surprise to the other missionaries when I have plata left at the end of the month. They all think I will be the next financial secretary, but really it’s just common budgeting with envelopes.

I don´t have to use the flea collars, but I use the bed cover. Bugs aren’t really a problem in the city, just cockroaches and cleanliness. We get a bottle of hand sanitizer every transfer and I use it constantly. The water isn’t safe to drink unless boiled, but we have big water cooler jugs in our room so we have safe water. The only time I used the bug spray was for the zoo just in case, but that wasn’t really necessary. If in three weeks I go to the jungle, then I will need to use all of it haha.

I carry my DNI everywhere, which is my ID and it can’t be stolen electronically. I carry it in my scripture bag, so no I don´t have to use the passport holder. In fact, my passport is with the office right now, I think they keep it until after my mission, which I actually prefer, it’s more secure there, and I don’t have to worry about it.

The weather does change here, like a swing of 15 or 20 degrees when it’s a cloudy day, but it’s actually refreshing to me to be honest. For air conditioning most just open a window or use a pedestal fan. For heating they buy a big can of propane and hook it up to the house. I think the sore throat I’ve developed this week is the result of air quality and the temperature change, but I really don’t know, usually it’s just in the morning so I gargle well and I am cutting sugar as best I can to get rid of it.

I would love to get some photos of the house at spring time or even of the temple. People like to know how we live and the concept of houses separated by space is a little foreign to them...yeah that’s where the phrase comes from :)

I am loving my mission, and every day is different. Sometimes it can be frustrating, but I am learning and writing so many things that will help me to be the person that I aim to become. Always have goals that you want to complete in the next month, and year. Dad I love hearing how your business is progressing, things like that didn’t interest me as much as they do now that I am further away. It’s cool to hear what’s going on with each of you in that way. I am learning that as we turn outwards, others turn to us. We had a great experience doing service for a neighboring area his week, delivering clothes for the impending cold (I write cold but really it’s still hot during the day sometimes, mostly it’s at night) to the families who live on the hills. They are all so grateful for whatever they can get to keep their kids clothed during the winter and more than willing to give us their contact information in return. The missionaries of that area will be visiting each family with a message this month and we return to parcel out the rest of the clothes on Wednesday this week.

I love you all and want to say how proud I am of your examples. The photos I have of you all have been especially useful this week in showing families how my family is in all different areas of service ion the church but that we all are happy in what we do and the lives we lead. I am out of time, but I love you all!

Elder Nelson

Monday, May 13, 2013

Dennys, Mary and Brenda

Querida familia,

It was so good to hear from you all. Sorry to Darci and Joe and Braden that I wasn´t able to talk/see them more. I would have loved to hear and talk with them.  I hope grandma feels better soon, nobody likes being sick. Elder Arce has been sick with a stomach bug for a few days, so we have to return to the room often sadly. It´s hard to take a break when I know there are so many people waiting, but well when duty calls haha. As for the blog, I really think Melissa and Kolby have techno genius as well, or at least enough to know how to manipulate a blog page. If not, Carrie has a blog and so she should be able to show you how to get things back to how they were, that is if she´s in town and willing to hop on over to our house.

Melissa looks a lot...older? I don’t know if that’s the right word, but she definitely looks more mature, tell her to stop that growing business, and not to look at boys unless they are at stake dances. Kolby...well le falta una corbata, pero todo está bien allá. (lacks a tie, but all is well there.) His question reminded me that he will be on a mission while I am here, and that was both a happy and sad thought. He will be learning how to do the work while I am teaching others to do the same (that is if I am training at that point). What a wonderful thing the mission is and how it changes people into more than they think they can achieve. If you get a chance, a great parable from the scriptures is described in Jesus the Christ (I’m reading that lately) It´s the parable of the secret seed, all about leaving the word of God and not knowing when it will come to fruition, so so so missionary work.

Well, stories from the field time: Dennys and Mary, the couple we´ve been working with recently told us one night that there was a problem that was out of their hands that would impede them getting married on the 11th, two days back. The next morning in a special visit with them during our usual study time, Dennys told us that he had an old girlfriend levy a claim for food support for her son of 12 years. That’s a monthly fee for 12 years of support, to the tune of 8000 nuevosoles. Basically it’s more than he might make in a typical year as a musician and he has 4 kids with Mary to support. He´s been super positive through the whole thing, even though he can´t get married because the claim includes an order of capture, so he can´t appear to be married without being arrested. He wants to work it off and we are thinking of hiring Mary as a pensionista so we can help them gain a little faster. They are so positive about all of it, and they have been gold from day one, reading the Book of Mormon as soon as they got it and saying prayers in spite of some otherworldly resistance. They can use a few prayers for sure.

The other is Brenda, the 15 year old daughter of an investigator family. 15 is the age of junior year here, so she studies night and day solid without breaking for much. We caught her on Friday night free and so we talked to her about her lectura of the Book of Mormon. She hasn´t been reading and forgets to pray. This is especially hard because she didn’t believe in God before Elder Arce and my grandpa (Elder Arce’s trainer) started visiting their family in January. She read a few verses from the Book of Mormon with us in between games of the Peru V Mexico volleyball game that she was watching and was able to understand when I told her about primary prayer rocks. She didn’t really love that idea of a rock under her pillow, but really that’s the idea right, its uncomfortable if you don’t pray. Well I gave her a little extra homework for the weekend we will be checking on tomorrow: Read Alma 34 and pray every night minimum. She reminded me a lot of Melissa and Kolby combined in a weird way haha. But really she´s the last member of her family that needs to gain a testimony of the Book of Mormon, so I´ve been hoping she goes through with it.

The ward had a mother’s day dance activity at the church on Saturday night. The men of the ward had put the chairs in a square in the chapel and set up these huge speakers. True to form, no one really showed up until a half hour in, but the music was super loud salsa and huayno, which is a kind of salsa from the sierra (mountain regions) Hermana Valer, the one that reminds me of grandma nelson was pulling sisters from their chairs to join in the dancing. She has sooo much energy! It was a success, we even had two of our investigator families show up after we left, which was super duper exciting. It can be hard to get people to take the step of going to church or even an activity, but if they just get there, the members can step in and give them a reason to keep coming back.

In other finally happened. My CROSS pen from Brother and Sister Strickland that I got for graduation died. There was no more ink left during planning last night and I had to write super big to get continuous lines to come out. Refills for that would be really great, but I know it’s tough to send things, it can wait until much later for sure. I like the other pen I have a lot too, it’s a Pilot Easytouch. Funny how when you use things all day long, you get attached to them though.

In response, all the sisters I have met while here are super effective, especially because we as elders can´t teach single sisters or single mothers without a priesthood holder present. They can take all of those references and whomever else they find in their area and I don´t think they have to tract much because of the sheer number of single mothers there are everywhere.

I read my patriarchal blessing from time to time, and keep it in the top drawer of my desk for easy reference. It´s cool how different things stand out at different times, even when you think they only apply to a certain facet of your life, they apply elsewhere too. That´s really vague, just know that I am getting guidance out of my patriarchal blessing too haha.

It´s sad when missionaries lose their vision of potential in the field because I know that in the CCM there were those who weren´t focused, but everyone was at minimum obedient. We can literally turn an area around with the help of the members if we focus ourselves on the work, but that’s not possible with disobedience. I´m learning that sometimes my stubborn nature is a good thing, but only when employed in the correct way. It can benefit everyone to be a little stubbornly righteous right? All in all I love this mission and I know that I have come to this mission with these missionaries and these wards and investigators for a specific reason. It´s my work to figure it out and use it to bless those around me.

A quick note about pictures. There will be extensive replacement of all the pictures on the blog when I get home, because I send you pictures that have been reduced 50 fold in quality so that I can send them in email format. I have all of the originals in full quality and I wish I could send those instead, but I would have to use 4 or 5 hours for internet time haha.

I love you all, and I hope that my being here on my mission is a blessing to you individually. I don´t try to think of home during the day because It’s easy to lose focus, especially because home is associated with English, which isn’t really understood in these parts. Just know that in the quiet moments that I am reminded of each of you and that is when I petition for your blessings. I have specific things that I ask for each of you related to your success or happiness, and I hope that you are doing everything in your power to trust in faith that your Father can give you what you need when you need it. The scripture says that if you open your mouth, you will be given in the very moment what you need to say. That goes for all other things as well. When you need it, heavenly help will come.
I love you all and hope that things are running smoothly on the homefront.

Cuidanse bastante,

Elder Nelson 

Tuesday, May 7, 2013

Happy Birthday Elder Arce!

My area of
Lima is very hilly :)
Dear Family,
Whoops, another weird keyboard moment haha.  Wow so much news in one letter. Congrats to Rachael on her call and Michael on being such a strong spiritual brother of mine. Congrats Kolby on being alive his junior year and for getting the job. If it´s Dallin’s old job there are definite perks haha. I sent mail home en mass for a bunch of people and if you could sort it out and send it places that would be spectacular.  Speaking of mail, president announced hermana leaders for the hermanças of several zones his week, they will train the hermanas in the other zones and basically coordinate with the president a little better. Also I can email whomever as of this week. I don´t know why it was such an up and down road, but it probably had a purpose, so that´s how it went. I can email everyone as long as I email president and then my family first.
Pollo a la brasa

This week was Elder Arce´s birthday and he received some money from his parents through Western Union so he got himself some new shoes and a shirt.  The tradition is very real. We egged him and then someone poured flour over his head. I have a pair of pants that I messed up ironing that are burned a little that I plan to wear on my birthday this year. I have pictures of him and I, him covered in egg that I might be able to send next week.  The bishop took us to Norky´s that night and we ate pollo a la brasa, then a member gave us masumoro tooç.  Basically there are benefits to having a companion with a birthday in the field. Additionally, a family ordered pizza for us, Papa Johns. It was sooo good. We watched them put on a parable play for their kids (this was an extended family in one house) and then left for home. They live on the other side of the street from us and make pinatas for a living. The husband is always willing to accompany us to lessons, and they’re a big help to the work.  

My apartment in Lima
This week we focused on asking for references at our lunch appointments and now I have a testimony of that. One sister, the hermana Canto has a son that just received his mission call to Ecuador. When we asked if she had anyone for us to teach, she about jumped out of her chair because she knew who she wanted to share with us.  We plan on visiting the reference tomorrow.  The other example of us asking for a reference was the bishops brother in law. We asked him for a reference after a lunch appointment and he kind of hemmed and hawed a bit. Then he told us that all of his friends or neighbors are family that are members or are people that ride in his taxi, so they live well away and he doesn’t have their info. That was really sad, and it reminded me of when missionaries would ask us for references after dinner. It was so disappointing when we didn't have anyone new from this brother.

About skype, I will be calling you today to set up the time, in case I don’t get through it will be on Sunday at 3 or 3:15 my time, which is about noon your time I think. I need an account, so I need someone to make a skype account for me to use and then tell me the information when I call today at around 2 your time (5 mine) I hope that works out. I will have 30 minutes to call on Sunday so time is precious!

Was it really only one year ago all those luncheons?
I don’t need the sweatshirt here, though it is chilly, I will be getting sweaters from a market soon
The food is bland usually unless I use aji which is a pepper sauce
No my comp wasn’t sleeping, just studying I think, I don’t really remember the pic
I think I’ve lost my MTC weight, but who knows the only people with scales are nuns in all the markets and I feel like I would be contributing to a different church with my sacred funds if I paid to use it
Norky's for Elder Arce's birthday
Kids go to school all day until around 9 at night, but have a couple breaks and different schedules depending on the school, but they only attend until 16 then its work or university
We work with a lot of 30 or 40 somethings that are finding the gospel. There’s a few youth, but not many that we can teach because of school. But the youth of the church do have seminary and institute

Times up,so I’ll talk to someone later today and the rest of you I will see on Mother’s Day
Time really flies in the mission and I can´t believe it´s already here, call number 2

I love you all, try to share a friend with the missionaries, they could always use another friend :)

Elder Nelson