Monday, August 26, 2013

Mission Conference

Dear family,                                                                                                   

So I met Tad R. Callister this week. He´s a pretty great guy, the only fault I could say is that he doesn´t quite speak Spanish yet, so he had to have an interpreter. Well the story from start to finish: We´ve known about a mission conference for about a week but we just thought it would be president and the Hermana, then we found out Monday it would be with mission west and their leadership. Then we found out like when we got there on Saturday that President Callister of the Seventy would be presiding because Elder Cook couldn´t come. Wow...So he talked about how important reactivation efforts are and then on how if we understand the apostasy perfectly, the restoration makes a lot more sense. He spoke really similarly to a BYU Devo titled ´´Why 1820´´...if you could find it and send me a pdf of it or the transcript that would be incredible. It was super interesting and would be really important things to help investigators when they have a doubt about particulars. 

While I’m in the request kind of mood. we can´t have books outside the mission library here, but there’s two I´d like for you two buy and put on a shelf for me: The first is the biography of President Monson, called To the Rescue. The second is called Believing Christ by Stephen R. Robinson. They´re both really good and I want to read them when I get home...just that I can´t right now. Another request, how’s Jason Mills doing? I´ve thought about him these last two weeks and wanted to just give him a big thumbs up and an encouraging thought. I hope he´s fulfilling his dreams.  I´d like if you could double check Mitchell´s (Anderson) email for me, I´m not sure if I sent an email to him correctly or not this week. Okay I think that was all.

This week was pretty strange, it seemed for the first part of the week that we weren´t getting into the houses at all. Our appointments fell through right and left and we weren’t able to make new ones because nobody answered their phones. BUT, at the end of it all, we had a youth accompany us all day on Sunday because he´s prepping for his mission next August, and it was like the Lord wanted him to have the best day because not one plan fell through, we got a lot of progress with Saul and Cynthia, and we didn´t have any contacts that didn´t want an appointment later. It was incredible, and a sure blessing of the Lord. 

We have one marriage the 7th of September and another on the 28th, and we are working really hard to prepare a family for each one. The best part about having a marriage right after the changes is that I get to project my thoughts forward two weeks from the change and not think about that. It´s likely I will get changed, but not impossible for me to stay. I have 6 months at the end of the change here in this area, but there’s plenty of elders who have spent 10 months in their first area, just a matter of where I am needed. 

Looks a little like a Calculus drawing to me....
The fotos this week are of a drawing another elder and I made because Elder Llontop is an elder temporary who will probably finish 8 months here before heading to Cape Verde Africa for his own mission there. Just fastidando unpoquito. The other is of my new typical breakfast for the past little bit, if you look back a few months, you´ll see its soooo much better now.

Breakfast of Champions
I found out at the mission conference also that there are branches in our mission as well as at least two areas of provincia or people that are a bit separated from the city. An elder in my group, Elder Bullock just got an emergency transfer to be district leader in a branch way up in the hills with just 15 members, so even if it’s still city, there’s a lot of difference in between areas, if only from flat to hills or the size of the ward.

Dallin had me going too, especially because even when I read it was dengue, I had thought dengue was a jungle thing only. We can get it here in the city, but it’s extremely rare because there really aren’t mosquitos, just flies. (*Cameron's friend, Elder Hunt is in the Reynosa Mexico mission and sent home a letter that said he broke his leg fighting off muggers...but he was "pulling our leg" and has dengue fever, that is why he was in the hospital.  He is quite the jokester and we should have seen it coming!)
 Wow crazy that Brooke Andrus is going on a mission, it seems like yesterday I was tutoring her and Hannah in the Library. Congrats to her on that one.

Melissa: High school can be the best four years of your life if you choose to really branch out and look for opportunities to help everyone feel included. Look for an opportunity to serve someone every day and I promise the horror stories will seem like some other high school on the other side of the world. You´re a special sister to me, keep your chin up, you´re beautiful.
Work hard in class and see the fruits of your successes in a few years, that one goes for Kolby too.

Working at EN was the greatest, pass on my saludos a Michelle y Bob Nash. Try to start a journal if you haven´t, recording these experiences is so important. Sorry I didn´t respond to your letter last week, I am so crunched for time in internet. I love you, you are a spiritual giant and you are an example to me in so many more ways than you even know. Keep up the great work.

Tell Braden potatoes are great too, there’s about 60 varieties here in Peru :)

I love you all. I hope that when I write is an edifying experience for you to read it. Things are great here, don´t worry, because well, I don´t worry...too much.


Elder Nelson

Here is the link to the BYU devotional Elder Nelson refers to:

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Applying the Atonement in Our Lives

Well this week turned out to be one of the hardest yet. I finished 6 months apparently, but I´m not really sure which day I entered the MTC, the 13th 14th or 15th. So I just kind of wrote my journal entry for the 14th as the one. I honestly don´t count the time too much, and that’s the best way to go about it. I forgot grandma´s birthday last week, so wish her a happy late birthday from me, I´d like to say that preserves my track record of birthday wishes.

Anyways, as for the hard week, I couldn´t just not worry about Darci and Joe, or pray for Braden an Ashley, because well, even as missionaries we are human beings. I don´t want that to stop you from ever telling me what’s going on there, just to let you know that missionaries are heroes...but they are heroes from among us, that we all can be like. That’s a pretty complicated way to put that every member is a missionary. I learned a lot about the atonement this week, or better put, I put into practice a lot about the atonement this week. I´ve been preaching for 6 months about how the atonement works for not only the sins of the entire world, but their pains, sicknesses, and anguish as well, but I hadn´t really been putting it into practice. Mom, you know that all of my life, I have had an on or off switch, either I was in Bottle it up and deal with it later, or I was mercurial, a little bit of a hot head with thin skin. I know that I was hard on you and dad as parents, and that isn´t how I am now, or how I try to be. I know that I still bottle a lot of things up, but I´m trying to release the pressure valve more often so that things don´t get out of hand. I know that the atonement is that pressure valve, and the reason we have companions isn´t just to save us from the dangers of being in the mission field. It´s to help us with our problems as well. They ought to be our best friends, those invited to our weddings and those who we pray for. Every person has their story, and as companions, we ought to know and play a part in that story. Basically, I´m beginning to be a more open-hearted person, and that´s extremely important in life.

We had one family, the Ostos family, the mechanics, that fell this week. They are in a dispute over the title of their house and at the same time are paying the bank for their house and with those two pressures, they just didn´t make the time or money to do the necessary things for their marriage papers. We had a lesson with them about how if we are willing to keep a commandment of God, then He will put the means for us to be able to do it. With all of their responses my heart broke a little more every time because all I heard was, "I don´t have the faith or trust necessary to allow Him to do that for me" It was hard, but we are working a little less with them now, and concentrating on a few other families whose marriages are coming up. 

One of them is Roxana, her mom and her boyfriend Pablo. We had a lesson with Marlene and Roxana this past week on Friday. Things were going alright in the lesson, about how the gospel can bless families and how one of the ways we get closer to our families is by going to church. Marlene started to talk about how she wasn´t always a loving mother. Hugs were sparse and I love yous even less, but she hoped that her children could see the love with which she went to work for them and made sure they never lacked food or a place to sleep or clothing. I had the strongest impression to tell her that if she would come to church this Sunday that she would be able to hear somebody say something that she would know was directly for her to hear. She broke down crying and promised to come to church the Sunday even though it would mean missing an hour or two of work. Well...she didn´t come to church and neither did her daughter and daughter’s boyfriend. Turns out 8 o clock church was too early and they all slept in. Well....the third speaker spoke for 20 minutes on how to develop loving relations with your family members. I knew it was just for her and it showed me that the blessings are there for us to claim if we are but willing to step forward and claim them.

I love you family, I know that these weeks have been absolutely crazy, but remember that we have a constant in our lives, the gospel of Jesus Christ, and it makes us the happiest we could ever be.


Elder Nelson 

Monday, August 12, 2013

No Bad News

Dear Family

I underlined family this week because that’s what we are. I´ve found that even though I may be in a different hemisphere, I feel what happens there. For two or three days, since Friday, I´ve felt empty like I´m missing something or that something wasn´t right. Our Father in Heaven loves each and every one of his children. He has provided a beautiful way for Darci and Joe to raise their child in an environment free of evil influence, in the millenium. I can´t wait for that day when we are able to meet this special, wonderful spirit who was so valiant that he or she didn´t have to support this life and generation we live in. I love you so much Darci. Never forget that we are family and that no matter what happens, we will be together. Joe, I know you are strong as a returned missionary, but don´t forget that your priesthood can´t bless you yourself. You can bless Darci, but don´t forget the power of asking others for help, especially your priesthood leaders. For you both, we pass through trials only because Our Heavenly Father knows we can overcome them. You are special parents, chosen to raise a child in the millenium, your call is marvelous, and your duty is clear, live worthy to be here for your child, and trust that He will give you a child to raise in this life.

The bishop´s sister in law, Mary, has been suffering from some sicknesses as well, a precancerous mass in her uterus I think...medical terms still aren´t too clear for me. We knocked on their door looking for the bishop, and she came out and almost in tears asked us if we could come by in an hour to give her a blessing. (she´s single at 29 and lives with her mom, who is separated, the both of them are incredibly active and faithful, but don´t have priesthood in their immediate home) So what do two elders do when his happens, we go to our next appointment, bail on the one in an hour and go to her. We called her brother who drives a taxi in the early morning hours to wake him up so he could come help. I annointed her, and her only brother gave her this blessing. I felt so incredibly blessed to have heard it. The love of Our Heavenly Father for her was evident as he said the words promising that she would find a faithful man to be sealed to in the temple, and that someday she would be a mother to children despite her illness right now. It was powerful to say the least. As we left, I could see in my mind her with her family, happy and enjoying the life that her Father has given her. I don´t know if that will happen now in this life, or after, but I know it will happen.

Marcos' Baptism
This week we also baptized Marco. He´s 11 years old and pretty quiet. His mom is an inactive member of the church, but his extended family is our pensionista and her 7 kids with 5 of them married in the temple. He will have a ton of support, but we hope that this baptism will help her to start taking steps to come back. At minimum for the ward to start sending visiting teachers there to visit her. It was probably the first and only baptism that I will have that didn´t really have a problem. He was healthy all the way up to his baptism, he was worthy, he came to church to get confirmed. I wonder what’s down the road for him, but I know that he’s a chosen youth for this generation.

This news won´t bring me down, don´t worry about that. With a gospel perspective, there’s no bad news, it´s all good. That´s what this life is all about right? Repent, serve God, and be happy about it. That´s a mixture of a scripture in Alma 42 I think and another one I can´t remember at the moment.
Zona Magnolias.  Elder Dansie, in the front,
is the only other American


Congratulations Braden and Ashley. I pray for your spiritual strength every day, and that everything is what you have dreamed of for your wedding. In our Sunday school class this week the teacher gave kind of an unrelated beginning, but it might be for you two. We are all princes and princesses, children of a king, who wants to give us his entire kingdom, but to do so we have to fight dragons, cross moats, and journey far away first. Keep your focus on the goal, and you won´t ever get lost along the way.

I love you all, thank you so much for your letters Kolby, Melissa, Ashley, Dad, and Gma and Gpa Sorensen. I will respond maybe next week to hose that I missed responding to this week. I love and pray for you all continually, if there is something I don’t know to pray for, let me know, and I´ll be there. Darci and Joe, I love you, and He loves you, don´t lose your focus.


                                                                                   Elder Nelson

Sunday, August 11, 2013

Snail Mail letter

*Elder Nelson sometimes sends snail mail letters in one envelope for lots of people.  He labels who they are for and I re-mail them or deliver them for him.  He included us with this letter that I have retyped here:

Dear Mom/Dad/Familia/Friends,
So this will be the letter that was so short, or an addition to it, the week that I didn't write much because I sat waiting for the page to load.  The rest of these letters should be redistributed to their proper owners.  The one that says Jessica is for Jessica Bagley, Rachael, for Rachael Porter.  I hope this makes it before their missions start.
Dad, I never get to reply to your letters, but they're always a lift and right on the money.  I plan to reread yours from today and maybe write something back next week in the email.  I'm still waiting on Braden's personal account of the proposal.  He wrote me a quick email just to say he was engaged, but some things never change, the promised follow-up email didn't come.
Mom, the taffies weren't hard, in fact they melted a touch, maybe next time in a plastic bag?  They're delicious, I have one every day or two to really savor them.  The photos of our house about made me cry for how much we have.  I haven't told you all, but here, the people live in concrete houses and add stories with bricks or plywood or woven mats.  That's the middle class.  The people living in the hills use discarded building materials to lean against the hillside with dirt floors.  I will never again take our house and lawn for granted.
This week we've been teaching a lot of Catholics. That's kind of the norm because if they are part of another church they changed from Catholic and are a lot more firm or want to prove us wrong, and well, that doesn't do well.  There's one family , a nurse named Carmen who came to church.  She and her husband work constantly, or she studies to know more about nursing.  She's 65 years old and still seeking more education.  They're married, which alone is somewhat of a miracle, but also her daughter Carmen Jr. is married to a less active member.  The mom was a witness in Maritza's wedding and is now investigating.  We hope to baptize the 3 of them and reactivate the son-in-law by the end of June or early August.  Really, Elder Gaibor and I get along really well.  We both have firm testimonies built on our experiences, and we both believe in complete obedience.  He understands spoken English, but I am helping him to speak more fluently.  His goal is to travel out of Ecuador, hopefully to finish schooling at BYU.  He has about 11 months left and I hope he makes it up there, I'd love to have you all meet him.
Speaking of being in the states, President Blunck is back home now, and President Erickson is here.  We haven't met yet, but I've sent my first weekly email to him and there are plans for interviews and conferences.  President Blunck's final devotional was incredible, and it showed how he didn't slow down for one moment during the mission.  i.e. 300+ flights in both directions Lima-Selva and Selva-Lima (Selva is the jungle).  Incredible.  Braden must have been ecstatic to see Presidnet Hicken and his wife.  That is such a blessing I look forward to.
Well, now comes that time again, I love and pray for each one of you as individuals and I hope that you have plans and goals in the gospel.  Like general authorities have said, if you aren't moving forward in the gospel, you are slipping backward.  Loved the "claimed by the Lord and counterclaimed by the adversary" quote by the way.
Elder Nelson

"Our leisure, even our play, is a matter of serious concern.  That is because there is no neutral ground in the universe: every square inch, every split second is claimed by God, and counterclaimed by Satan." 
~Sheri L. Dew

Transfers for Elder Gaibor

Building Materials in Lima
Dear Family,

Short letters are just fine, no se preocupe. I use that phrase probably a thousand times a day. The women in the ward are all super accommodating and usually they worry over the small things just to make the missionaries comfortable. This week Surprise! Elder Gaibor had changes. For changes, we find out immediately after writing home, and then you spend about half of Pday packing and the other half visiting members and converts. Well Elder Gaibor packed in about 40 minute, super-fast, but the whole ward was on a camping day trip and so we didn’t get to see hardly anyone. Our pensionista was home, and so we visited with her a while and watched a church film, but the whole ward got back around 9 at night, time to get going back to the room. There were pictures and speeches with the family and two convert families that happened to stop by at the pensionista house, and then it happened. We were shaking hands with all l of the people before leaving and Erika (convert of 3 days) up and hugs him....awkward. Yeah well at least it wasn’t with besitos, that’s how everyone else greets here and would have been a little more disastrous. We left quickly and the Lopez family explained that missionaries can´t do that kind of stuff, all is well in Zion again.

Elder Gaibor and Elder Nelson with member
We went to the offices the next morning at about 6 to meet our new companions. Mine is Elder De Leon, from Guatemala, and the Lima West mission. He was serving in one of the two stakes that got added to Lima North in the split. He has 17 months in the mission, but does everything just a touch different because he’s been in a different mission for almost a year and a half. He’s 22, to complete 23 next month, and was a personal trainer before his mission. He is about a head shorter than me, served in a red zone, or super dangerous part of Lima, for 4 months or so, but nothing ever happened to him.

Elder Gaibor leaving Magnolias
This week we had a blitz in Valle Sagrado, one of the areas in our zone. All ten of the missionaries in our zone headed up to valle sagrado to work in their area for a couple of hours. To do that, they split everyone up and put us with members and the missionaries from that area. We visited members, menos activos and converts. I was put with Elder Dansie and a ward missionary. Yep, two gringos and a member. That’s mostly because valle sagrado can be dangerous at night, but we were in a safer sector of the area, but we told Elder Dansie that if he spoke any English we would probably get robbed, so we did alright speaking just Spanish (he’s newer, so he prefers to speak English still). The first house we visited wasn’t home, but the second was a family preparing to get sealed in a few months. They haven’t been to church in three weeks because of the health of their little girl thats about to complete 8 years. I ended up acting as senior companion for the visits, something I’ve never done before. Things went really smoothly, and I felt super strongly when I bore testimony that the last thing that they should do when they are in difficult times is stop going to church. They committed to go again and we were actually pretty good friends by the end of the lesson. I will be checking with the elders from there to see if they went to church. 

After that we booked it to the Ostos Family. We had introduced the civil marriage idea earlier in the week, and we met with them in order to collect copes of their DNI (ID) or birth certificates. By some miracle, they had birth certificates there, so we took copies of those with us. If all goes smoothly, they should get married the 23rd of this month. If they get married, we are prepping them to get baptized the next day in the church, but if not, we´ll have to wait until next month. They’re really great, and full of faith. There’s a dispute right now over the title to their house, and it’s costing them some money, but they say that even though work is tight, they’ll be able to pull together the 60 dollars or so necessary to get married..

As for the questions, some people have heat in their houses, but the majority don´t, and it’s not the temperature that is cold, it’s the humidity. It mists so hard that the ground is wet like it’s been raining, and the people here call it rain haha, not a drop in the air, just particles.
Elder DeLeon
Kolby should still know the names of the months in spanish haha, and we don´t have daylight did you change the clock? I have one of the bags, and I use it every single day, the other one is okay, but mostly just for PDAYS. As for Kolby driving to AFY...that’s okay, Dallin and I drove to 49 degrees north haha. Trust in between parents and their youth is a good thing. Everyone has running water and we just recently got a water heater attachment for our shower, though if you put the water too hot it trips the breaker and it goes cold AND dark. The walls of nicer houses are of cement forms over bricks, and the houses in the hills are plywood no mas, just like if Kolby were to build a shed in the back yard out of plywood and two by 4s, with a dirt floor. My shoes are champs and will likely last the mission given I don´t stop taking care of them. I´m acclimated now, and nothing really affects me physically except for fasting. We walk about 10K every day and so fasting really does a number. There are commitment issues yes, most often that we commit them to come ot church and they don´t becasue its cold in the early morning. There literally are fair weather saints here, but I don’t blame them sometimes its absolutely 50 degrees and misting heavily haha, I’ve turned into a wimp. Maybe I should apply to BYU Hawaii later.

I love you all and I love the work, I won´t stop being strong in the gospel, ever, and I expect the same from eeahc one of you. Keep working hard at those covenants!


Elder Nelson

PS the picture of the flags is Peru, and then Ecuador and the US as roofing material on the hillside. Not sure if I should be upset or compassionate.