Monday, October 14, 2013

Arm & Hammer

Goofy Elder Nelson trying to be
as short as the Peruvians!

Dear Familia,                                                                                         
 Wow, what a whirlwind of a letter that was. So many names and faces that I can´t remember so quickly haha, Yes I remember names but the faces lag a little in coming to mind. First off...I don´t know an Elder strange, but at least it´s for the good right? (there was a friend whose son is in the Dominican Republic CCM that said he knew an Elder Campos that knew an Elder Cameron Nelson serving in Lima…crazy small world) I hope that Christian can come down, and I will try to remember him in my prayers. My district leader damaged his meniscus playing soccer about a month ago, and he´s still limping a bit. The results from his MRI (which decide if he will need surgery) will come back this week.

I´m incredibly grateful to have had such good health all my mission. Being sick for just a day and only two times is really quite extraordinary when you consider what goes on down here in terms of sanitation. I love it, I still remember mom telling me "look Elder Nelson, you´re camping for 2 years, so just jump in and don´t worry about getting dirty." That’s been so true , there’s dirt absolutely everywhere, and it doesn´t matter if you sweep every single day, there will always be a small pile of dirt to sweep into the dustpan. Equally, in this world there is a ton of spiritual dirt, things that will stain us if we are not careful, it doesn´t matter how many times a day we sing a hymn or read the scriptures, the dirt will still be there to clear away, the important thing is that we do sweep every day, and often as we can, because if we don´t, it builds up until we are stained. Really though, we have someone whom we can call Mr. Clean or Arm and Hammer if you prefer. He comes to us and says...I know that your room is going to get really dirty, but if you promise to leave me the keys, I´ll come and clean it...but only if you trust me enough to leave me the keys. The Savior and his Atonement tell us we can overcome any challenge in the life, any special problem that seems to affect only us, He knows it, and works through His faithful servants to clean it up. There’s my allegory for today. I was reading the scriptures this morning and in Alma 34:38-41 it’s basically a formula for how to be happy even when life is hard-or dirty. I felt so incredibly grateful for Jesus Christ, for the Atonement, and the cleaning power it has. I´m a witness to it, every missionary is a witness to it, and every member of the church is a witness to it. I love Him for it, and will forever seek to do His will to pay for the debt that I will never be able to pay.

Thank you dad for everything you do. You´ve found the way in your life to be as Christlike as possibly with 5 super active kids, and the way that you go to work every single day without complaining, without asking for a return is a huge example to me. I can´t wait until I can come back home and talk to you in person and on the phone again, spend the time really thanking you for all you’ve done and will do.

As far as saints and traditions go. I guess Lima is pretty big on that. People have their birthday and the day of their saint, on top of that they celebrate a different saint every month and there are holidays really often to celebrate things like Señor de los milagros and Jesus Moreno (African Jesus) It´s pretty strange to be so immersed in the culture. One of the things I´ve observed is that Halloween and Dia de los Muertos isnt that big here though, the Testigos and other Christian churches have really put in an effort to label those holidays as evil pagan traditions that led us to devil worship, and I got quite a few jokes about that (being gringo) near the beginning of the month. Really it’s just a day to let the kids have fun and gain candy, I see nothing bad there haha. One strange thing is that when we ask people to have a prayer before the lesson, if we don´t explain that one person says the prayer and the others listen, they start to pray under their breath during the prayer, it’s a little weird but after the first or second lesson it usually stops, when they realize we are praying for them.
This week was really great, I was able to really be teaching, which is a little tough to do a lot of when you are opening an area. We are working with about 4 or 5 nonmember families and 3 less active families, working on getting them to church this next week is the goal, and we´ll count on the members to help out there. I love you all, I appreciate your support and all the prepares, encourage the missionaries heading out to read the Book of Mormon and review conference, it´s soooooo important!


Elder Nelson

PS yeah this week I got a letter from a friend from college, that had been mis-sent to Thailand...that doesn´t happen too often, but she sent it back in May and now is in her mission haha.

PS going to the temple next week, but still writing Monday, Love you!

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