Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Cold Showers and a Questionnaire

Dear Familia,                                                                                                        September 23, 2013

The rivalry will never die, I just have to thank President Erickson for putting me in this zone, because there was a U student in the other zone and he would have rubbed it in ;)  Also, who’s that girl in the picture you sent me...surely not Melissa? She looks taller...and older....nope not my little sis.

*Do the wards there have any activities like this?  Things they can invite their friends to to socialize, etc? 

Yes we have ward activities. Usually it’s some crafty thing or food for the sisters, like how to prepare a whole dish, or there’s a weekly soccer game for the men, and this past week they all watched remember the titans. The elders’ quorum presidency is trying to put together a weekly mutual that makes them more of a cohesive group and that’s really good to have something every week to invite investigators to. Just this last week a youth brought a friend to church, and she will be receiving the lessons soon. The only problem is that 90 percent of the members live in the other area, so when people bring their friends they rarely are from our area.

*Is it a wealthier area?

Definitely a wealthier area, more educated with bigger houses and little lawns a lot of the time in front. The people have more money in this part of the ward and so they are less, but we are currently working on trying to locate all the less actives on this side to make that a big focus, reactivation.

*Are there store nearby (I was considering putting additional money in your account for Bday/Christmas)  If so what kind?  Are the fast food like Subway or just taco truck like places?

The only type of store nearby is like an Albertsons type store, not much there but electronics and groceries. As for fast food, the nearest is KFC close to the stake building, which is out of my area, but there’s little stores gas station convenience type stores on every corner and pollerias every few blocks. Really though for birthday or Christmas I’d like it better if you could send a package, I don’t know with what, but something small. I really haven’t used my personal money becasue there’s not much to use it on, we have almost everything we could want from the mission.

*At one time you said the only thing that will change on your mission is the horizon...is that still true?

Change is an interest subject. Honestly I know I have changed. I know that I’m becoming more patient, I am learning to love people on first sight and to really open my heart even if I‘ve only known them for a few days. I don’t know how much more I’ve learned, but I know it’s a ton, and I know that I will keep learning for a long time. The horizon on my mission is basically the same here in comas too, but the hills are on the other side now,

What is your district/Zone like?  I know you said there are many more, do you know why?  

My district is 6 elders now, and my zone is 19, 5 sisters and 14 elders. We have a weekly meeting and it’s a lot of fun to see how the others are all doing. My whole district is training. 3 trainers and 3 trainees. I think it’s just a bigger stake and for that there are more missionaries-

*Are you closer to the mission offices?  I googled the area of Comos...it seems like a large area.

Yes I’m closer to the offices, but not by much. The whole mission is within about an hour of the offices, so now instead of within 40 minutes I’m at about 20 or 25. Comas is like a county, it’s called a municipality, not sure exactly if that translates right.

*Did you get to bring your kettle with you?  What kind of cooking set up do you have?

I didn’t bring my kettle because elder De Leon would have been high and dry without breakfast for a few days, so it was a gift, but now we have pension in the morning and in the evening, we run there about 1 kilometer for exercise in the morning, and then come back and get ready to study.

*You said the apartment was nicer...how?  Are there 4 elders in the apartment or just you and your comp.?

Its bigger, on the 3rd story and newer. Just me and Elder Mariscal are here and the only problem is that we still don’t have a hot water doohickey for the shower. ooooh frio!
*You mentioned that you had to let your companion know the sad truth that some missionaries are not very obedient.  Reality is hard.  Will he join you in being obedient.and immediately so?

Yes, he’s super obedient and it’s great, When you are obedient, you just feel good, every day and all day. Look for the experience from my letter to President to see a description of how he is.

*Have you gotten used to all the walking...or do you get to take public transportation in this area?

We take public transportation more in this area, and its a little strange to be using so much more of the transportation fund that we get, but its definitely okay, because I’d rather not walk more than the estimated average we do of between 8 and 10 kilometros every day.

*I noticed that you were the only one is short sleeves in one of your recent pictures.  Is your wardrobe sufficient?  Is it beginning to be short-sleeve weather there?

Its starting to warm up here already, but I will need a new sweater for next winter, sweaters every single day for the past 4 or 5 months definitely was a little much with just two sweaters. If you do send a package, some more ankle socks now that we run for exercise would be great, the ones from my room should be fine.

Experience from my letter to president.

This week was really hard. It felt like we were doing everything right, working hard, contacting looking for members and less actives, following the schedule to a T and generally just being really obedient faithful missionaries. The problem was that those we planned to visit weren’t home, and those that were home refused more than once to let us share a short lesson. We had one day this week when we literally walked all day long from one appointment to the next, plan A plan B and then plan C fell through, and I couldn’t figure out why it was so hard to get anything accomplished. We have been working with a less active family trying to help them decide to come back to church after 10 years, and we found out that she didn´t come back because she had a bad experience with a priesthood leader telling her she couldn´t take the sacrament just yet. She also has fibro myalgia, so coming will be a physical challenge as well. Last night we had a lesson with her family where her 24 year old daughter expressed more or less the first part of this letter. She was a good member, even preparing for a mission and then her mom got sick and there were a bunch of other family problems, and she didn´t understand how God could let that happen. We shared a scripture about Joseph Smith in Liberty Jail that now I can apply to our situation as well. We´ve done all we can and now we have to entregar our area into His hands and learn from the experience.

Other than everything here I’m fine, this week wasn’t anything I couldn’t handle and don’t worry. I do have a question. What is the name of that foto of the stripling warrior and his mom? 

I love you all and hope you are all doing your best with the missionary work there!


Elder Nelson

Monday, September 16, 2013

New Ground to Break

Elder DeLeon and his Greenie and Elder Nelson with his Greenie, Elder Mariscal
Dear Dust Bowl Family,                                                                                               

That foto probably competes with a few textbook fotos of the dust bowl in Oklahoma that was a cause of the Great Depression, just my little tidbit of history for today. (*We had a huge dust storm roll into town last night.  I sent him a picture that really does look like the end of the world rolling into town.)

So it finally happened, yes it was hard, yes, I cried in every house, and yes I wasn´t even sure I could be an effective missionary without the knowledge I had gained of my previous area. I took a ton of fotos and went to the offices at 7 in the morning to find out who my companion would be. As we were standing there in the soccer field waiting to hear our names and where we would serve I listened as my companion was told he would be training. Another newbie in Buenos Aires I thought, that’s great. Then I heard the secretary call my name, Elder Nelson, you will be serving in the Area Año Nuevo 2, Zona Comas, and you will be training a new missionary, please wait over here. WHAT?! I was excited and proud and a little worried all at once. Not only did a have to leave my area, but I would be learning a new area with a new missionary. What an opportunity to depend fully on the mercy of my Savior. An elder came over to me that would also be receiving a newbie, he introduced himself as the district leader from Año Nuevo 1. He then told me something more to worry me just a touch...it’s a new area. So this week I met my new companion, Elder Mariscal, and we started the work of opening a new area, an area that has about 5 to 10% of the members in our ward, and even less of the work that had been happening, no existing investigators and no area book to look through for help. Starting from scratch literally. The good news now, this ward is incredibly supportive of the missionary work. The ward mission leader is going to leave in November for his mission in Bolivia, and had set apart this week to come with us every single day. The Lord knows I can´t do this on my own, so he sent me to a ward that makes sure we don´t do it on our own.

So we did a lot of contacting this week and ended up with a less active family and one other family that we are now teaching, we are feeling a little bit more comfortable in our area and are working hard to build an area book that other missionaries can really use in about 4 or 5 months, or however much time we spend here. Elder Mariscal is from here in Lima, but the North is his mission. Literally 4 or 5 times a day a bus passes that will pass by his house in a little over an hour and a half. He was baptized as a convert at 8 years old, but went inactive at about 13 until a year and a half ago, when he says he had an experience pretty sacred to him, that made him come back to church. He´s super committed to being obedient and excited to do work. I´m so glad he´s like that. I´ve actually had to explain the sad truth to him that there are some missionaries in the field that don´t like to be obedient. The house we live in is much bigger than the house in the other area, and we are really just kind of setting it up. We are still waiting on a couple of things to come like a clothes rack to hang up our clothes but other than that it’s a really great house. The new zone has 19 missionaries including 5 sisters, so it’s definitely distinct, my old zone had 10 elders, no mas. 

What you say about the missionaries smiling is so true. We have had more than one training recently on the fact that as missionaries, we send a message in the street whether we actually contact the people or not, they see our rostros and thats enough, they know that we are the "mormons" without a second thought, and we tell them that we share a message about the gospel of Jesus Christ, lo cual trae felicidad a los que lo viva y lo acepte, (Which brings happiness to those who live and accept), if we aren´t smiling, who’s going to believe us? Smiling is actually something that is recorded that Christ did when he was among the Nefites, if you look I think in chapter 18 it says two different times that He smiled upon them. How much do we love the Savior and want to emulate Him? That call also includes smiling :)
Yes we get ensign and I read it...but in Spanish haha. We actually had a regional conference this Sunday in the stake building. We watched Elder Godoy of the seventy as well as I think one of the members of the presidency of the relief society as well as Elder Bednar and Elder Scott by satellite. Elder Godoy spoke about the youth of Peru being the future of the church here. I´ve totally seen that as faithful youth bring their friends to seminary and their parents to church. The sister spoke in a little bit broken Spanish about the need to really socorrer a los jovenes rebeldes (really help the young rebels?). Elder Bednar tambien hobló en cuanto de algo similar y la necesidad de honrar nuestro sacerdocio (also as something similar and the need to honor our priesthood). Elder Scott. Elder Scott :) as expected spoke on the sanctity of woman, and spoke of his dear sweet wife, really to me his talks always show his incredible love for her and for the gospel as a means to return to be with her. It was all really great.  We left refreshed and impressed spiritually, and the members were all talking about it on the way out.

Times about up, but remember that I love you all, I pray for you, and hope you are all excited like I am for conference coming up soon!


Elder Nelson 

Monday, September 9, 2013

A Miracle for Roxana and Pablo

Missionary Work makes Elder Nelson feel on top of the world!
Magdelena District
Dear Familia,

We are definitely all excited to get to work on all of the people that Brother Bagley sent us. His area is now two or possibly three wards and 6 missionaries, who will all have their hands full looking for addresses and phone numbers for these people in the old church records. The bishop told me yesterday that there was a bishop about 10 years ago that wen through MLS and purged a bunch of names from the list. Sabe porque? There were about 1300 names on the records from the ward but there were only 180 attending on a regular basis. What happened is that the names and data all went into a giant binder of old registers of baptisms and converts. Then over the years, someone lost the binder. Right now they are looking for the binder so we can look for these people (what was the nickname for the area?) Transfers are today and I will know after writing home whether I go or stay. I love these people and this ward and I honestly can´t imagine myself serving my mission among any other people, so this change will definitely be hard if I have to go.

As for my birthday, we´re only September right now...do I have to think about that so soon? Every once in a while I think of something I might like to have but then I forget because it’s really not necessary and might even be a pain to have to carry it around for the whole mission. My present for now will be that our stake-slash-regional conference will be presided over by the first presidency...or so they say. It’s a satellite broadcast so we´ll see if it’s true. I sincerely hope so, every time we have a special speaker or conference I leave it so edified so excited and happy, but more than anything refreshed. 

The wedding won´t be until September 28th, and Roxana and Pablo are getting married. The story for their miracle (every investigator is entitled to a miracle whether they recognize it or not) is really good. Like a typical Peruvian couple, they aren’t married but have lived together for years, but they aren’t each other’s first partner...that’s actually incredibly sad to me, marriage is so important and don´t a one of you forget it. Part of the marriage papers for the Comas area or county is a medical certificate, we were preparing them for a masivo there, so they went to the posta to get their medical checkup. He found out he has syphilis, but here’s the catch, she and her unborn baby don´t even though they have been living together, 100% faithful for 3 years. That’s a miracle, miracle number two is that it’s still treatable because they caught it super early. They thanked us for helping them start to prepare for their marriage, and recognized it as a miracle from a loving God. We went with them to the municipality to do all the paperwork for this county San Juan de Lurigancho this week, so it’s a sure thing they’ll get married.
We work with a group of about 4 or 5 families that we are teaching, as well as recent converts and less actives. We make 100 street contacts every week, 50 of which need to be hombres mayores, or capable of having a family (18+) at home. As far as the people I have contact with, the bishop in this ward is only home off the mission for 9 years, and the pensionistas family is great too, with half the high council (one is only 24, but he’s a high council member  They are a great help as well as the young men’s leader and the young men in the ward. I never did my own laundry here, we hire a lady in the ward to do that, and she does it all by hand...my shirts have never been this white haha. I make my own breakfast, all with the water kettle that I bought, it’s an electric, so we have oatmeal and hot chocolate or yogurt and cereal and yogurt. It’s all pretty healthy stuff. 

Thanks for all the support that you send my way, it all makes a great difference. I received a letter from Jessica Bagley, the wedding announcement and a dear elder from Sister Grimmett this past week. 
Braden and Ashley look great and happy :)

I love you all, and hope this letter finds you well and studying the gospel, it’s the ONLY way!


Elder Nelson

*also ask Braden about a family Gandara y family segovia from Pachuca...i think he served there right? There’s two elders here from there.

Wednesday, September 4, 2013

Small World

Dear Family,

So I´ve written down a couple of things that I wanted to make sure to write you all this week. Number one, I had strawberries for dessert after lunch on Wednesday this week. I wrote down immediately afterward I ought to write that, maybe I can sway Kolby´s mission preference. They sell strawberries in the street this time of year, they´re big and juicy and super sweet. They also sell apples. I honestly don´t think there’s a fruit that doesn´t exist here, and there’s several varieties that I haven´t been able to translate, so I´ll have to figure out what it is later. That´s happened with a lot of things, like I found out this morning that I have been drinking a Chamomile effusion with Dinner every night for the last 3 months today because I only know it as manzanilla. Don´t worry, it’s not tea, just chamomile leaves crushed up.

Number two to write home about is probably one of the biggest surprises I´ve had while serving here. Elder De Leon and I knocked on a door of a less active that Elder Gaibor and I had contacted a while back to try to reactivate her. She´s the lady that had been inactive for 16 years, and she didn´t activate back then, but we are going to try again. We were talking with her how now it’s the Lima North mission here and that things have really changed since she went inactive. She mentioned that her missionaries were Manuel Martin Herrera Hurtado de Arequipa, and .......James Andrew Bagley de Pasco, Washington. Yep...Brother Bagley apparently served here in what was then the Villa Hermosa Ward in San Juan de Lurigancho something like 20 years ago. Her name is Jaclyn Navarro Calderon and she would love to have his contact information to get back in touch. She didn´t come to church this weekend, but we´re hoping we can start to help her come back. She says she was probably 14 or 15 when she was baptized and that she went on visits with the missionaries as well. (*Andrew Bagley is our next door neighbor and was Cameron's Scoutmaster.)
Among those who remember Elder Bagley are: the Lopez-Alvarado family, they may have been giving pension during his time here back when all of their kids were smaller, now their family constitutes half of the stake callings that are available. That’s Hermana Francisca y Hermano German Lopez of Barrio Villa Hermosa. Quiero ver si Hermano Bagley tiene una lista de sus converso para que les contactemos  a ellos en estas semanas que vienen. Sería lo maximo si pudieramos usar este conocimiento para ayudar unos menos activos regresar a la iglesia o a minimo fortalecer sus conversos cuales todavía son miembros. (I want to see if Brother Bagley has a list of those he contacted or converted in these coming weeks. It would be the greatest if we could use this knowledge to help less active about returning to church or at least strengthen his converts that are still members)  But yeah that’s the biggie from what happened this week. 

The families we are teaching are beginning to really develop testimonies of the gospel. It´s been a type of fight to be able to help them realize a few things, but now they have a real hunger to know about everything. Especially the Restoration. The more converted we are to the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, the more our desire to learn about the Restoration will be. I love to learn all the details I can about Church History, it´s so interesting to see how much God loves us that He would direct His work through inspired individuals and courageous actions. 

Elder De Leon turned 23 this week, yesterday in fact, and so the Lopez family held a birthday party, dedicatorio during our dinner hour. They are so great to us, and their RM son even gave each of us a can of Dr. Pepper (it costs 2 times as much as anything else here and is pretty rare to find in a store) 

I´m loving the work here, and I can´t imagine myself anywhere else in the world than Perú. I pray for you, and hope you are all well and strengthening yourselves and the family por medio de guardar sus convenios en el templo y cumplir con todos los mandamientos que sepan. (by keeping their covenants in the temple and fulfill all the commandments they know)


Elder Nelson