Saturday, December 27, 2014

Qué necesito hacer para prepararme para un bautismo?

Dear Familia,                                                                                                      

Things are going great this week, not much really to report that I can’t tell you in the call this week. I have been thinking and even though I love Kolby a ton and can´t wait to see him, If we can´t organize having a little bit of our calls this Thursday together then it doesn´t bother me too much, it is looking like it would take a ton of coordinating, and I don´t want it to be a stressful occasion.  I will probably be calling more around 5:45 Lima time, just to be sure. We are going to the Branch President´s house to do the call, but we are going at the same time as the other two elders, and so I’m not sure exactly in what order we will be calling. I figure I´ll give the priority to Elder T (this is his first call...after 5 months). 

As for Lima Christmas traditions, there’s turkey for dinner, and hot chocolate to drink, with Fruitcake (panetón), they sing Christmas carols in church, but there´s only like two songs that they sing outside of the Christmas hymns, so Christmas radio gets a little stale. They sing "Navidad, Navidad, Hoy es Navidad" to the tune of jingle bells, and they also sing feliz navidad. There´s a lot of versions of the two of them but that´s about all there is. I am so grateful for the English language and the many many songwriters that help us enjoy a variety of secular and religious Christmas melodies!

R and L are starting to take a greater interest in the baptism we have planned for the 10th of January. When we first put the date, they were a little skeptical. They didn’t want to say no, because they really do see themselves in the church in the future, but they didn’t want to say yes either because they aren´t sure about entering so soon. This last week, we had a family night with them and after watching the Finding Faith in Christ video, Hermana R started to ask questions about baptism, the first real interest she´s shown in a few weeks. She asked about if baptism has to be done laying back into the water and then if they were to get baptized if it would be the three of them on the same day. The last question she asked is what has us all excited. She asked "Qué necesito hacer para prepararme para un bautismo?" AHHH! It was so exciting to see that she is starting to accept the idea and try to prepare herself. She is really the key in this family because she had the most doubts due to her heavy Catholic background.

This week is D´s baptism. He has come a long way since having just a simple desire to be baptized without any real understanding of the ordinance to now when he understands why and a lot of the requirements to get to that point. His mom went to the mountain region this last week because his grandma is sick, and usually that would have meant that he wouldn´t go to church because being deaf it´s not really that much of a draw to him without his mom who can explain things without him having to read lips. We passed by his house in the morning and asked him to come to church with his brother and at first he said no, but then he said he would come to show that he wants to be baptized. He came and even stayed after his brother left after the second hour. Hopefully the branch members catch on that they need to help him become an independent church member to keep him active.

Tell dad that when I read about Cuba it reminded me of the conference we had with Elder Christiansen a year and a half ago. He talked about organizing the first branch in Cuba and visiting the first time with the Book of Mormon to tell them that it was their manual, the second time he came, they were all in suits and ties. He asked what made the difference from the first to the second visit, and they said that in the first visit they saw that a general authority wears a suit and tie, so when he came again, they already knew that that is what the Lord expects in His church. We have so much to learn from the general authorities, and sometimes we take for granted to lessons we can learn in how they interact with people when they visit different parts of the church in the world.

I love you all, can´t wait to talk on Thursday and I hope that everything is going well on Christmas prep. Try not to spoil Melissa before I get home, I´ve got to do my share as well :).


Elder Nelson

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Perseverance and Signs

Dear Familia,                                                                                                                                                              
I might go to the temple before Christmas, but I doubt it. The thing is that the temple here in Lima will be closing in the new year, but we don´t know exactly when, probably sometime in January. I hope to go, but if I don´t, I went during my last few weeks in the offices as well.

As for Elder H, well of course he remembers Kolby, so do Elder T (lived in the same house I think he said) and Elder F. Elder T says that his parents want to contact you just to say hi and swap stories; they´re from Spokane Valley. I´d say that if Kolby is making as few errors as he says then maybe he could be even more advanced than them.  The three of them are still with their trainers except Elder F. They speak rapidly but make mistakes, which really is a good combination, because you can´t really teach speed, but you can correct errors. Elder H says that Kolby and him always played against the Latin districts in soccer and usually won haha, he also said about some plans to go to a Sounders game in 2016/2017 (he´s from Bothell), sounds like he made a lasting friendship.

Wow, Colin is already home, I think S P should probably be pretty close too, if not already home. I think the wave of my friends should already be starting to come home, and maybe come April/May it'll be at the height of the movement. There´s a lot to think about between now and then, but I´m staying focused during the week.

You shouldn´t need shots or water purifying tablets to come to Perú. Water obviously is only safe when it´s bottled or boiled, but it´s about 1 sol (30 cents) for a bottle, and theirs stores on every block to buy from. Shots...well there´s not really mosquitos in Lima, there are...but very few and according to the doctors before the mission, it´s well outside the malaria zone.

Well this week we had a great experience and a frustrating one, but determination to fix things up. The great experience was that R and L got married. Wahoo! We left the area at 9:30 to get to center of Lima at 11:00 for the wedding. They went through the line to get to the register clerk and signed their papers, Elder N and I were the witnesses so we signed next and then the ceremony of the actual wedding happened. The frustrating experience happened later that night when we passed by their house to pick up a piece of cake to go...their family members, whom they had told that they don´t drink, brought alcohol, and they were already a little tipsy by the time we got there. It was so disappointing to know that they willingly, albeit with pressure, chose to disobey a commandment they had just learned. So no baptism this week, or next. We are hoping for maybe the 27th or in January. We have a plan this week to visit them frequently and help them to see the error and get ready for a different baptismal date. They got over one hump and baptism is next!

We are also teaching D. He´s Deaf, but learned to speak through 13 years of therapy. He´s also 22 years old and the son of a member. His dad isn´t a member, but his brother and sister are, and they have been really supportive in being able to help him come to church and listen to us. I don´t know if I told you about W in Tahuantinsuyo, but the sisters there taught and baptized a deaf/mute there too and I ended up learning a few signs related to gospel things. Well, for a good reason, because now I am learning more signs than ever! D is also preparing for the 27th of this month and he understands everything soooo well. About 4 years ago he decided to start reading the bible and studying "how to be good" as he terms it, and now we have him reading the Book of Mormon and watching videos online. The good thing is that he reads lips incredibly well and while he isn´t the most patient of investigators, he catches all of what we teach. He´s awesome and it´s so cool to see someone that hasn´t understood the gospel before outside of a few basic explanations or videos from Easter week come to understand the great plan that´s been prepared for us!

I love you all, I am super happy to be here and to be helping people realize their goals to have happy families and to recognize the help they receive from their Father in Heaven.


Elder Nelson

Also, I set up the Christmas tree you sent and took some pictures :) Enjoy

Monday, December 8, 2014

Obedience Brings Happiness...It's the Only Way!

Dear Familia,                                                                                                                                                                     

We too got to see the Christmas devotional, however, we were out teaching just before and got to the stake center late (we are the furthest except for one companionship) just in time to catch from 8:30 forward. It was inspiring and definitely a golden opportunity to bring investigators and less actives to see it.

This week we did a work visit for the afternoon on Friday and Elder H came to my area. Yes, Elder Hthat Kolby knew in the CCM in Mexico. He as well as Elder F and Elder T are in my zone and well, with three of us from Washington, there´s quite a bit to joke about. Elder H has the same time as Kolby does obviously, and it was a good visit to have with the branch council and also a couple of lessons to people that we haven´t been able to teach in a while. We taught this lady that we have been teaching for a while, but she just doesn´t seem to want to make decisions. She has a boyfriend who is a trucker, and he comes into town maybe once a week or every two weeks, and obviously she can´t get baptized if that´s happening. She has a super strong desire to be baptized, she´s reading the book of Mormon actively, she hasn´t come to church in a couple of weeks because he has been in town on Sunday for some weeks. He´s from a different church and honestly I don´t think I´ve met another adult as childish as him. He says that he can´t get married with her because that´s a lot of work, he sometimes makes up sicknesses while he´s on the road so she will send him money and worry about him, when she calls about what we are teaching her, he says that she´s only doing it because we are two young men (she’s around 55). Well, they fought over the phone again the other day and on top of that, her daughter who is 19 ran away leaving her two year old son behind so that she could do what she wants, drinking and hanging out with a bunch of questionable men. We testified strongly that all of these things come from not keeping the law of chastity in the first place, but it still doesn´t seem to have gotten to her. I just don´t know why people don´t understand that keeping the commandments is the only way that they are ever going to find happiness. Well, that´s kind of been the theme for this week, admonishing and warning people of the consequences of sin. We are still working with R and L, they should be getting married this weekend and then baptized the next week hopefully.

I love you all, sorry for the short week, but I had to devirus my companions USB and do a few other informes for the #HeistheGift campaign. Hopefully next week it´ll calm down a bit. Next week, I´ll try to tell you when I will be calling so we can coordinate with Kolby.


Elder Nelson

Thursday, December 4, 2014

#ÉleslaDádiva (#HeistheGift)

Dear Familia,                            

There´ll be 45 minutes to Skype for Christmas, and I´d love to Skype at the same time with Kolby, I think that it´s just as easy as the the Mother´s day call, when I connected with Braden and Ashley, Darci and Joe. I think I just sign in and then start a call to the two different lines. Hopefully that should work out. Skype doesn´t really have problems going over foreign lines, just with slow connections. The package I sent isn´t necessarily a Christmas package, it´s all of the recuerdos (souvenirs) that I´ve received or bought over the time I´ve been here, so sure you can open it when it gets there. I haven´t decided to whom everything will go yet, but there’s a present for Mom that should match the great room furniture well...I think haha now that I think about it, I really don´t know if the house is still standing anymore what with Melissa home alone sometimes. I already opened the Christmas package here, so I can´t really stop ya´ll from opening it there right? Just don´t go distributing stuff yet, I think I´ll have to explain a few things first. I have a full list of what was in the package, so there shouldn´t be anything lost in shipping.

Elder S (in the offices, who we are corresponding with over travel plans) studied in an English institute before the mission. He´s self-conscious about his English, but he defends himself just fine. I don´t know how I could get you from the offices. I know that if I were to meet you in the airport, I would go as if I were leaving the country, but just to meet you there. It would depend on the time your flight gets in. The dinner with President usually ends at 6 pm, and then the missionaries come back to the offices and the North Americans wait an hour before going to the airport. If that´s how we do it, I could come to the airport and pick you up then I could hail a taxi to get us where ever we are staying. If not, I don´t know how I could send a taxi unless I send a member to the airport to pick you up and bring you to the offices. It all depends on timing. I have a mountain of plans for Lima, some like visiting converts and others like going to the center to a marketplace. I´ll be prepared to fill whatever time you give me! Will it just be you and Dad or Melissa too? I have a ward in mind to attend on Sunday that could go well. That way we don´t miss the sacrament.

This week went by flying, it seems like there´s more to do than ever, and the area is so big that we have to plan well every day to keep from spending too much time walking from one appointment to another. We have a few families that we are teaching and starting to integrate into the ward. R and L are doing great, they have been to church 3 times now, and their daughter F keeps asking them every Saturday night to get everything ready to go to church. We love this family and right now they are taking care of some of the paperwork for their wedding. If all goes well, they should be getting married on the 12th and baptized on the 20th. We hope that before then, they get a stronger desire to be baptized, obviously that’s one of the keys to helping them join the church. Right now, they want to be members, but they don´t know about just yet, they say that the church is in their plans but they want it to "Nacer de ellos" basically let it be born of them the desire to go and join the church. We are helping them along the way with experiences that should help them to realize the huge change that´s already happened in their lives.

As for everything else, there was a multizone conference this week with president and I didn´t have to prepare a talk...until the end when he announced that it was the last multizone until February and that those who are finishing in the next two changes were invited to give their testimonies. I got up and it was like all of the changes that I have gone through in the mission just hit me, I didn´t realize and still don´t recognize fully what Heavenly Father has done to change me in these last two years, but for a moment, He made me see, and I bore testimony of it. I felt moved by the mercy that He has for me and for the many, many plans that He had in mind that I didn´t even comprehend. I´ve felt more purpose in these last two years than in the 18 years before, and for that purpose I give thanks. Now I just hope that I can figure out what kind of purpose I am supposed to have afterwards. According to my conference questions, I just need to wait and see, because He reveals everything in His own time and according to his own purposes.

I love you all, and I know that He as well has many many purposes  to share with you. Pray to know in what way you can serve and it will be revealed what purpose you have at this specific time in life.

Elder Nelson
P.S. the church bought the Youtube channel on the 7th of December, go support He is the Gift on all of the social media you can! #HeistheGift    #ÉleslaDádiva the video is in English and Spanish at and at Go watch it!

Stretching after eating rice....silly boy with a silly camera!

Monday, November 24, 2014

Family: That's what it's all about!

With my companion, Elder N

Zona San Felipe

With Elder P

Centro de Lima

Before and after "sweeping" the shoes
Dear Familia,                                                                                                                                                    
So this time, I was a good American and remembered about Thanksgiving the day of the holiday! Sad to say, but the 4th of July passed me by these last couple of years and I remembered halfway through the day. I was thankful to be here. Sometimes members mention (I hope exaggerating) some of the strange and worrisome changes that are happening in the states, and it makes me grateful to have that anchor, to be able to look to the gospel plan and know that all of the other "afanes" en esta vida are temporary, passing, and that they won´t affect the big picture if we are faithful to the covenants we have made.

I don´t think I can accurately describe the levels of poverty that I´ve seen here, but yes, that´s the well off part of my area in the pictures. Some of the people we teach hardly have what you could call a house, but they are willing to set aside a part of their day to listen to us. We are so incredibly grateful for them. Our apartment by comparison is middle of the road in terms of the people that go to church with us. The owner wanted to charge us more for the hot water heater we have and so we disconnected it...summer is coming (we hope). Just one more motivation to do exercises in the mornings. haha. Our apartment is large, but like you said, unfinished. It´s very normal not to have more than just a concrete floor. If it´s your own house, you might save up and put in tile, but if you are just renting it out, no. The last assistant to finish out in the field actually came here to finish, and he ended up buying an electric pan like the one you use for chicken patties, so we use that to cook just about everything.

Before I forget, thank Grandma A for the birthday card, they are so great and I´m glad they are in good spirits!

I haven´t received a Christmas package yet, but that doesn´t mean that it isn´t in the offices right now waiting for delivery. I sent a package the day of changes, November 4th. I sent it with the contact that you sent to me, I think his name is Pedro? Yeah, I paid the shipping and everything, so it shouldn´t require any extra charges. Go ahead and ask Vanessa if she sent it on after getting to SLC.

This week we kept going with Hermano L and Hermana R. I don´t know if I´ve told you about them. Elder N found them with his other companion and they have a big family that lives nearby. They are a young couple and all of L´s family lives close, all young families. R and L listen really well to all the things we teach them and have been slowly getting ready to get married in December. They are fun and different and have two little daughters, F and M (10 and 3).

This week we taught them all about the gospel of Jesus Christ and we started working on helping them to recognize the spirit. One of the things that has been most emphasized recently is that the investigators should be truly ready for their baptisms, not just have a more or less desire, but to understand the doctrine and be willing to take that step to follow Christ not for the next 3 months, not until I lose my job, not until there is some sort of crisis, but until the end of my life. We have been preparing them for that kind of covenant, and they are gaining a little bit of an understanding. They aren´t 100% ready yet, but they say that they want to continue listening, and they came to church again yesterday without us passing by to pick them up, so I´d say they are taking a liking. We are so excited and happy to have a family coming to the branch and to prepare them for this decision! I think if more missionaries knew what it was like to prepare an entire family, there would be a lot more families joining the church.

I love you all, I know that the family is the center of this plan and that if we dedicate the time to make our family celestial here on earth, then eventually we´ll get to the other side of the vale in family again. Have a great week, and look for ways to strengthen the family!


Elder Nelson

Monday, November 17, 2014

Strengthening the branch...

Dear Familia,                                                                                                                                    

I´ll start with the urgent things first, many of the missionaries who went home while I was in the offices had their parents pick them up. That´s absolutely fine with President and Sister Erickson. The email you are using is the office elders´ email I think (I never memorized the number) but they should be able to help you. The pick up would be on Monday evening or Tuesday morning and you can come to the offices from the airport to pick me up. From there, President basically tells the missionaries that they are free to go, but not to break any commandments on the way home. I would need you to bring a couple of pairs of cargo shorts if you could fit them in. The only shorts I have are basketball shorts haha. You will need to coordinate with the personal secretary, about the return flight. Would it be possible to stay in Lima 2 days and 1 night? I promise I can entertain you the whole time!

Now for the questions, I think Elder N has something like 17 months in the mission, so we both have a lot of experience between the two of us. The challenge is not letting our knowledge get in the way of revelation. I know that that is one of the things I am working on a lot lately, trying to feel for specific revelation that will help the branch grow. Trapiche is a branch, we are missing 5 Melchezidek priesthood holders to be able to become a ward, and the four elders here are working super hard to be able to make that happen by the end of the year. That´s either baptized or activated so we are working hard on both sides of the court. We attend a church building about 10 minutes away by combi/bus and then 5 to 10 minutes walking. I have been blessed to live close to the church all my mission and now it´s my turn to pay to go to church! The branch is going through some transformative steps to revitalize the member work, but we do have some good support in the form of regular members who band together to help each other.

This week a family of recent converts, familia L was evicted illegally from their adobe house. It´s really tiny, but there´s a land dispute between her formal in-laws and the mom. She has two early teenage kids and you can tell that they don´t eat enough in the first place, and on top of it all, the president of the housing association sends robbers in the night to throw rocks at their house and steal the water pipes that extrude from the wall. They got to the end of their rope and now the sister doesn't even want to leave the house because that would leave it open to the robbers. The branch president got together a huge group of the members and they all went to help her move, but then the new apartment owner said no....after she had moved all of her belongings in and at 8 o clock at night. Now they are back in the house, the branch president is trying to find legal support and also is sending members with carpentry skills to go secure her house so she can come to church. That´s how a ward council works.  It´s incredible to see the members sticking up for one another just months after the family has started to come to church.

We cook for ourselves, but that Costco style store is in our area now, so we can go out there to get bulk foods every Pday. We have an electric skillet, an electric kettle and the fridge, so this last week I bought chicken nuggets and a big bag of frozen peas and carrots.  That topped with the fact that we get up every morning at 6 to go play basketball with some youth and the other elders and I think that I might be able to get pretty fit here in Trapiche.

Elder N´s family is super supportive. He has been a member practically since he was 5 though he went through an active but mentally and spiritually turned off phase, and now he´s really really awesome. There´s 10 sisters and 8 elders in the zone. The elders are the three district leaders and their companions and then me and my companion. Therefore, there’s a lot of diplomacy going on. I am working hard to unify the zone with Elder N.

I love you all, I am working hard and more focused than ever, I love the work, I love the branch and I know we have more than just a few people praying for us!


Elder Nelson

Office Missionaries

San Felipe Stake

The "Rich" area of San Felipe

Happy 21st Birthday!

My Companion, Elder N

Monday, November 10, 2014

Hitting the dirt...

Hola Familia,                                                                                                                                         

Yeah, so I think I may have all of 30 minutes to write today. President gave me my change on Sunday afternoon and since then I have been super busy. I am in Trapiche Branch, in the San Felipe Stake as a zone leader. Elder N is my companion, he´s 19 years old I think, and he´s from Piura, Peru. Ummm, yeah basically that´s all I can think of to tell you about him haha. We get a long really well, and I´m glad that the zona doesn´t seem to look at me as the big scary asistente. This week has been a ton of fun, getting to know the area, and the zona, trainings, and just jumping in headfirst with the work.

We met a 27 year old man named J this week and started teaching him. He is a member’s nephew and lives in the same house. He has had such a dark difficult past, but he says that he has tried a lot of times to pull himself out of it. He battles with depression and at the same time, he has been unemployed for a few weeks. We started our first lesson with him talking about the plan of salvation and especially what our purpose is in life, and why we have trials. He is really quiet and really thoughtful. He listens to us teach, and when we ask a question he ponders it and then responds after 10 or 20 seconds of silence. It´s such a spiritual experience to teach him. Well, we challenged him to be baptized in the first lesson and he accepted for the 29th of this month, then we invited him to church and said that maybe this is the time when he really will change. This Sunday, we passed by a couple of investigators houses before church and while we were walking about an hour before the first meeting (2 pm sacrament meeting) he passed in the street with a couple of soccer clothes. We reminded him about the church and that we would pass by his house, but he wasn´t there when we got there. We passed him again in the street after the church meetings and he just kind of hung his head while we passed. He wants to do better, but he feels a lot of pressure to fit in with his friends and he doesn´t have a good connection with the branch members yet. We´ll be working with him a lot this week.

There are so many experiences I can´t even begin to tell them all, but that´s why I have thrown a little bit more effort into writing in my journal, I was able to write at least once this week, and it felt great. I´ll be writing more this next week so that I can remember all of these experiences. The branch is out on a corner of the mission and goes out to a river that’s called Rio Chiyán. I haven´t seen it yet, but my area definitely has a small town feel. We run into our investigators and the members practically every day in the street, and it seems like everyone knows everyone. The streets are all dirt and so we get back to the room with white shoes from all of the dust. Also...there´s got to be more dogs than people out here haha.

Well, I´ve gotta go, but I love you all, I hope it´s been a great week, and I´ll try to write more next week. Anybody I didn´t respond to know that I´ll try next week, but no guarantees!


Elder Nelson

Sunday, November 2, 2014

I Love the Temple!

Hola Familia,                                                                                                                           

Elder Y has a really awesome camera, so we typically take pictures with his, and since they are such awesome pictures, they would take absolutely forever to load, so that´s why I don´t send many. I did play in the second biannual world cup of the MPLN but I played defense, so maybe I didn´t get a ton of action shots. No worries, still the "Boot it" kind of defensive player, just like Coach Boring always told us to do. Also, I find that when I play a lot, my foot hurts, and that would affect my ability to go out and teach, so I prefer to enjoy the defensive line and try not to get too tangled in the game.

I know Kolby will do great training. He has such a good focus on being able to help families and dedicating all of his time to the work that I can´t imagine that he would have difficulties outside of what´s normal. He is a missionary full of power because of the way he chooses to live and I couldn´t be more proud. We could actually use a few more missionaries like him in Lima, I wouldn´t mind anyway!

Halloween in Perú is a mixed holiday. On one part, you have a couple of the Christian denominations handing out leaflets in the streets and putting up posters that say how it´s a pagan holiday centered on devil worship and that those who participate end up terrorizing their children to a psychologically damaging point. On the other there´s the church that has a Halloween dance and the general population that goes passing by the business sector to do a trick or treat type thing. There were definitely a lot more costumes this year, and a lot of assimilated costumes as well: headbands with the knife on either side or cat ears, a witches hat, or a little face paint. Most of the full costumes were for the little kids, but as well there were some adults roaming the street. A lot of drinking happened, like any major holiday, and this morning when we went to do the move-in for the areas that are opening this change we lost one of the truck drivers because he had spent the night drinking. We went down to the area where a fleet of them hang out waiting for work and got a different one in no time though.

This week I got to go to the temple! Yesterday after a very busy week, Elder U, Elder Y, Elder M and I got to go to the temple. I think President let us go because three of the four of us aren´t going to be in the offices anymore and likely this will be the last chance to go before the temple gets even busier leading up to Christmas. We got up early and headed out on the Metropolitano, arriving at the station closest to the temple around 8:45. After, we hopped on another bus that took us to the same block as the temple by around 9:20 (morning traffic). One of the wards close to the offices had a ward temple trip, so one of the members treated us to breakfast in the temple cafeteria, then we headed into the session. I had prayed before to know some things and just really felt that I was answered immediately. I noticed this time several phrases in the presentation that lead me to exactly what will be my teaching focus for the last few months of my mission. I felt answered, and loved and a huge desire to go back and soon, but that won´t be as possible as I would hope. 

As for the rest of the week, we had the mission council and started to get ready for changes. I know a little, but honestly not much at all about what will happen, but I am ready for the challenge and especially for the other rhythm. I know that using my faith to confront the unknown will strengthen my character, and I am ready to work more closely with Peruvians, and not just missionaries. I am happy and willing to accept whatever assignment President Erickson sends my way, I just want to know what it is!

I love you all, I am sending a package home with Inka Envíos on Monday. They said the price went up to $7 a pound due to demand, but I am talking to them on Monday to see if paying for it here or there is cheaper. Either way, I pulled out 150 nuevos soles today to cover the cost of sending it if I end up paying here. It should get there in time for Thanksgiving. When it gets there, you can open it, but I haven´t exactly figured out what is for whom. If you keep it shut, I think I may use them as late Christmas gifts haha.


Elder Nelson

Lima Peru Temple
Lima Peru Temple

Spanish Inquisition Museum

Friday, October 31, 2014

18 Wheelers and Goatheads

Dear Familia,                                                                                                                                 

I just got the package from Vanessa yesterday, though with permission, I might open it before leaving the offices because changes are coming up and I may have to pack it into a suitcase. It might fit better once opened. I´ll wait for permission from you first though. I think I will call Vanessa this week to see about sending instructions and when she would be able to take it. I´m going into center of Lima today to buy a few things to put into it, so if there´s a charge on my card, then you´ll know why.  

I will likely go one, possibly two more times to the temple before leaving. I plan on trying to go sometime next week (before leaving the offices) and then maybe once more in January before finishing. I love going to the temple. Here, I have been able to put more emphasis on what´s said in the presentation because of the language, and being able to focus on the dialogue helps me to recognize some little things. I think of all the things that could happen in life, establishing a habit of going to the temple often is what stands out as the number one indicator of a strong church member.

I think that I actually prefer being in the field. Administering for the mission is good, and I can definitely feel that I have grown tremendously as a person since coming to the office. I know that I have tried to help a lot of missionaries and more than anyone President and Sister Erickson, but being in the field can´t be matched. I have been able to see that I am happiest out of the spotlight haha. If there is a mission assignment that is all of the analytics and the work visits and the responsibility of being an assistant without the trainings, I´m there. I feel a lot of the time like mom. I love learning and studying, and even the person to person interactions, but the actual training or the actual giving of the class "me es dificil". I know that God gives each of us weaknesses and talents and sometimes I feel like He wants me to develop some that I feel don´t come as naturally as to others. I will welcome the challenge of being back in the field and being able to work more seguidamente (subsequently) with investigators and members. That´s where I want to be, helping people to reach the spiritual progress that they need.

Congrats to David and Rylan. What´s Kenny think of the marriage? He must be ecstatic that they´ll probably stick around the Tri-Cities. Congrats as well to Josh and Tyler. The mission is the best thing that could ever happen to anyone, and I know that it comes to be a part of you. There´s things that I have learned here I will never forget and people I have taught here that I´ll never forget either.

I did a work visit with Elder D and Elder M this week, waaaaayy out in Los Angeles Zone. It was so great to spend some time with a couple of missionaries that I have known practically my whole mission and to go out and teach with power to a humble people. At one point, we stopped to buy some Gatorade knockoff at a tienda because it was actually a pretty hot day. We walked down the street talking about patriarchal blessings and the next lesson we were going to teach when from out of nowhere a glass bottle hit the street a couple of feet from Elder D´s foot. We kept walking but I could tell that a young man from the park had thrown it at us. We weren´t in any real danger, but it was a very real reminder that we are constantly in opposition. The gospel moves forward like a giant 18 wheeler, and the devil is doing his best to stop it. His problem is that the most he can put out there are a couple of goat heads before we pass him up and keep on down the highway. 

I love you all, I know that everyone is anxiously engaged in a good cause, but this week, try to think if all of the causes we engage ourselves in are as good as others. There´s a really great article about the science of happiness on the church website. Go and read it!


Elder Nelson

The other picture is of me and Elders C y W on a work visit in Canto Chico. That happened last week, but I wanted to send some photos :)

Monday, October 20, 2014

Bringing Them Home

Dear Familia,                                                                                                                             

First off yes I pulled S/. 100 out of my card and I may pull 50 to 100 more out this week in order to buy a few recuerdos (souvenirs)  before leaving the offices. I think I will coordinate with Inka Envíos (Vanessa) to send them home in a package before leaving. To do that, I may have to pull out an additional amount to pay the shipping. I´ll let you know when I send it so you can be expecting it. As for a Christmas package, I am absolutely fine haha not a thing I need for sure. If you still feel like you need to send me something you can send me a tie perhaps, in one of those bubble envelopes so it won´t cost anything. I was brainstorming with some of the office elders about what to bring down in that suitcase that we can give away. Winter does get kind of cold for people here, but I haven´t really seen many people use hats gloves or scarves unless they are the knit variety from llama wool they have, and to be honest those are probably better than we can bring. Then, Elder U had this great idea. He said that the majority of the people he knows only have maybe one white shirt to go to church in, or two ties max and they stay that way until they have been members a good two years. As well, the women usually don´t own skirts or dresses to wear to church. If we brought down a suitcase full of Sunday clothing to give away, I know it would get put to good use, and I also know that it would be a great subtle reminder for them to stay active in the church.

As for this week, we continued with the interviews and work visits, this time going to Independencia, Collique, San Felipe and Canto Grande zones. The week goes by super fast when we have mission activities going on, and even faster now that we do visits after the interviews. We usually get back to the offices around 9 or 9:30 now and have just enough time to figure out the agenda for the following day and then head home. One of the good things I have been able to do this week is head out into Tahuantinsuyo more often and try to drum up some member support for the sisters. I went out on Thursday night with Elder S because I decided not to do a visit to Collique that afternoon and we went to a couple of less actives houses that I know. Nobody was home, so we went to the Elders Quorum president´s house and asked if he could help us find someone to teach. He had actually just gotten home after work in the early morning when his dad told him one of the elderly members of the ward passed away in the hospital and they were going to have the viewing and the burial that day. So he went with his dad, and saw a lot of the members of the ward out to support the family of a really faithful member who had passed on. He had just gotten home and eaten dinner when we knocked on his door, and he was hitting maybe 24 hours of being awake still but he agreed to take us to a friend of the deceased who had actually been the one to invite him to church many years ago, now inactive. 

When we got to his house, he invited us in, mostly in virtue of that we had Hno E with us. We sat down and we started to talk about the plan of salvation and remind him that his friend Hno C (the member who had just passed away) was where all faithful members go to wait the second coming of Jesus Christ. We explained just that and invited him to come back to church the following Sunday, shared a glass of soda (very very typical) then left. I felt that we were supposed to have been there and shared exactly that during the lesson, that it was no surprise just after the passing of his friend whom he had invited to church, we should come to his door to invite him to church. We left and the days went by, I got the duty of staying with Elder Y, an elder who fractured his ankle playing soccer and now has to stay in the office while he recovers. Saturday night, after Pday, I asked Elder U to accompany me to one last appointment at 8:00pm to visit Hermano A. We got to his door and he welcomed us in, this time without Hno E. We came in and started to teach the plan of salvation from the beginning and were able to get to the atonement before I just couldn´t keep going with the lesson points. I looked at him and said "Hermano E, usted puede acercarse más a Dios solo por tomar el primer paso, yendo a Su Iglesia, este Domingo" he responded that he was in the proccess of that and that he eats breakfast at 8 on Sundays. I told him "Hermano E, Dios le está esperando con brazos abiertos, y no piensa que es demasiado tiempo que usted está tomando desayuno a las 8 en vez de la Santa Cena (sacrament)?" He looked at me with very changed and very sad eyes and whispered, "Hermano sé si me van a aceptar con tanto cariño si voy este domingo." Y en seguida nos compartió porque se había alejado de la iglesia. Estaba en la hospital hace años por una operación importante y había comunicado con varios miembros para que le donen sangre para la operación (no hay bancos de sangre donada aquí, simplemente tienen que pagar otros por donarla o traer amigos de su tipo de sangre) y cuando la hora de la operación vino, nadie estaba. El hermano tuvo que comprar sangre de otros ahí en la hospital y se sentía muy decepcionado con los miembros del barrio. Sentía que por ofenderse con los miembros no le iban a aceptar de vuelta después de sus años alejado. Le aseguramos con toda la certeza del espíritu que si le aceptarían y que aunque no, él va a la iglesia por su propia salvación y no por sus amistades, sean tan cálidos o no. Nos miró a los ojos y dijo "Hermanos, mañana voy a la iglesia...a las 8 de la mañana me parto por allá". 

(Brother E, you can get closer to God just to take the first step, going to his church this Sunday. He responded that he was  in the process of that and that he eats breakfast at 8 on Sundays. I told him "Brother E, God is waiting for you with open arms, and not think it's too long you are taking breakfast at 8 instead of the sacrament (sacrament)? "he looked at me with very sad eyes and very changed and whispered," brother Nelson ... do not know if they will accept me so fondly if I go on Sunday." And then he shared it was because  he was away from the church. He was in the hospital for years for a major operation and had contacted several members to donate her blood for surgery (no donated blood banks here, just have to pay others to donate or bring friends to your blood type) and when the time of the operation came, no one was there. His brother had to buy blood of others there in the hospital and was very disappointed with the ward members. I felt offended.  The members they would not accept him back after years away. We assure you with all the certainty of the mind that they will accept and if not, we go to church for our own salvation, not our friends, so they are hot or not. He looked into my eyes and said, "Brothers, tomorrow I go to church ... at 8 in the morning before I labor over there") (sorry, very rough translation from google translate)

We left the visit absolutely burning with the spirit after finishing out the lesson and I called the elders quorum president to make sure he knew the situation. Today they welcomed him with open arms and several members from before came and talked with him during the several meetings without having been asked to do so. Things are starting to happen here in Tahuantinsuyo, slowly but surely. The immense sadness is that I won´t be around to witness it unfold.

I love you all, I know that there has to be members of our ward that don´t go. Look them up, do whatever it takes and make a couple of visits to them this week. Seeing someone twice in one week makes a huge difference, and if a less active member sees two different friends from the ward during one week that both encourage them to come back, I´d be willing to say there´s a greater chance they come than that they don´t. 


Elder Nelson

Monday, October 13, 2014

Parable of the Sower

Dear Familia,                                                                                                                          

Well, about conference. The announcement went out and that was all the talk so that´s what I thought, that we wouldn’t be able to see it because the law is against congregating on that day. However, it isn´t congregating if the office elders get together to watch conference on a projector in president´s office, so we watched all 5 sessions in there in our office chairs. I loved it, and this weekend my goal was to watch it in English, but that didn´t work out too well today. I think maybe tomorrow I´ll watch them in English though.

This week we did a ton of work visits, trying to visit someone in each of the zones that had room revisions and interviews to try and see how they are doing in their area. This week it was Magnolias´ turn on Wednesday and I got to do a work visit to Buenos Aires. Wow. Things had changed but really not all that much. There are a few more paved roads than before, but the people are the same. It was an absolute joy to be able to visit them and see how they have progressed. The G family had been more or less active for the last couple of months so we visited them and we talked about the importance of going to church and being grateful for the blessings that they have received in the last year and a half of being members. They have progressed a lot both spiritually and temporally and they just needed a little push to remember to be grateful for the temporal blessings. The G family (S y C) have been married now for almost a year and their daughter L is already walking and babbling...she was born just before I left the area! They passed through some trials like S losing his job in the past year but C was grateful to have the perspective of the church and the eternal familia because she said before something like that would have been enough to separate for a couple of months. 

The bishop´s familia is doing great. I think I told you about Hermana V. Well she´s something like 65 but her dad was murdered in Cusco and they really don´t know what happened. She was in Cusco for the last three months or so taking care of her mom. She is an amazing woman. The whole family has moved forward. Bishop lost probably 20 kg and he and his wife are both in accounting school so that he doesn´t have to work as a taxista anymore. He has been a bishop for going on 9 years, but they just keep going at it. The L family is doing really well. They have been pensioning for the missionaries still and the youngest of the babies are now walking and talking.

I think one of the most impacting things that has happened in the last year and a half in Buenos Aires is seeing that the parable of the sower is being fulfilled. Sometimes we are those that plant, others we water, others we harvest, but what is important is that we are working. A lot of the people we had worked with in my time there that hadn´t accepted at the time have been baptized or are set to be baptized in the next month or so. Some of them were barely just a one time lesson that we didn´t continue teaching because we couldn´t find them again. Others were long time investigators that finally overcame their difficulties and were able to repent and be baptized. I absolutely loved seeing all of the progress. I know that there’s a time for everyone to receive the gospel, and sometimes it´s when I have been able to participate in the end product and other times no. I am so grateful for the opportunity to help them along even!

I love you all, congrats to Darci and Joe on their soon to be son (a nephew!!!) I hope you are all able to see the spiritual progress you are passing through and what the Maker is molding you into!


Elder Nelson

Wednesday, October 8, 2014

Conference Highlights

Dear Familia,               
Well, I just finished watching the priesthood session of general conference. We have Pdays Saturday and well on Sunday there is literally nothing until 3 o clock, so I think we will actually watch conference here. If I wasn´t there with Dad in body I was definitely there in spirit. Conference was excellent. I can´t believe just how good and spot on these last conferences have been. I did what you suggested and came in with a couple of written questions and two of the three have been answered so far. Hopefully tomorrow I´ll be able to know what the answer to the third is and be able to recognize it more than anything.

Today, I especially enjoyed Elder Lynn G. Robbins talk about focus and not pleasing man but pleasing God and Elder Jörg Klebingat´s talk about achieving self-surety through the atonement. I can´t really not mention Elder Holland´s talk or Elder Perry´s talk...or the entire priesthood session. Ha I guess it all just rang really true to me and being able to watch it was a really pleasant surprise. (In Peru, this weekend was elections.  This meant that congregating for any purpose, even church, was illegal.  So they watched in the offices or in members homes when they had internet. Next weekend, the congregations will gather and watch at their buildings.)

First about Elder Robbins talk. Wow, it was like he had been listening to President Erickson for the last month and a half or something. President has had this HUGE focus on making sure we are direct when inviting investigators and not fearing but just completely losing that fear of man so that we can focus on being the best missionaries. Something else that was common between Pte Erickson and Elder Robbins theme is that Pte has said basically the whole mission that we cannot short sell or offer discounts on the price of salvation. There´s really only one way in and that´s through faith, repentance, baptism, following the holy Ghost and enduring to the end. Elder Robbins said something similar to (translating) lowering the standards or the doctrine to the level of personal conduct leads to the self satisfaction, but not to growth or spiritual progress nor repentance. I thought that was so important. We cannot become satisfied in the gospel, once we feel we are comfortable in the church it means we have stopped feeling the spirit because the spirit always urges us onward. 

Elder Klebingat´s talk came off as a little bit of a "quemada" like a lecture in Spanish, but I could really rescue that he detailed a self evaluation on how to attain success. It was supercomprehensive and something that honestly you could print off and use as an abbreviated life plan. It echoes a lot of personal philosophy and will help me continue to develop Christlike attributes here in the mission and afterwards. I felt a little like he might have been quoting something like 6 habits of highly effective people but I know that what he said was so applicable and true, I just have to do it (I have somewhat lost a good focus on the physical health what with the package and all haha).

All in all I just came away from conference (during which I never slept not once) excited. I can´t wait til next weekend when I think we will watch them again but in English so I can go from getting doctrinal principles to connecting them with the absolutely genius linguistics of the general authorities. That´s something that I miss and I know my English has died a little bit while here. I figure there´s time enough to figure that out later, and that it´s better right now to focus on being able to communicate the gospel clearly and with power that´s only possible through excellent language skills. I still learn more about Spanish every single day. I learn new words and correct my grammar a little bit more.

I love general conference because it gets me excited to participate in the whole gospel. In some ways, as a missionary, we participate in a very large part of it, which is the obra misional. I mean if we think about that in Peru it also means the Sunday school program ( a lot of times we are the teachers for classes) and also serving in ward councils and helping form the church. However, those that are living in their own ward or in their own branch have a very often overlooked responsibility to live the whole gospel. When I say that I mean to magnify their callings, establish good spiritually edifying habits that aren´t mandated by a schedule, make meaningful visits to assigned families for home or visiting teaching, and all the other wonderful parts of being a full-time member of the church includes. Being on a mission has taught me soooo much about the actual value of those things, especially as pertains to how important it is for the Aaronic priesthood holders to participate as much as Dad helped me. I remember that he was faithful to a T about visiting every single month, and that it was never an option to go to the priesthood sessions of conference. Being here, I realize that even if I wasn´t the type to resist very much those things, that´s because I saw that Dad just did it. He never really stopped to question if he had time or if there were other things to do, he would just go and do it because that´s what a priesthood holder does. I am so grateful for your example.

I have been hugely impressed in this conference with the tidbits of advice, one after another that show me how very blessed I am for living and having lived in the circumstances that I did and do. In short (because it´s late) I love my family because it´s the best and I empathize with those who haven´t had the awe-inducing familiar experience I have been blessed with.

I love you guys so much and I know that the rest of conference will be written just for the needs of each of you. Listen up and don´t doze off because you´ll miss something important for sure. I think the temptation to sleep comes right when we are supposed to pay the most attention!


Elder Nelson

Monday, September 29, 2014

God is our Father and is Mindful of us

Dear Family,                                                                                                              

Sometimes the weeks in between mission activities can feel a little like that, another week come and gone, but one thing I have done in the offices is that I have tried to find ways to make my time more valuable. Time becomes to a missionary something that rises and falls in value as we use it wisely or foolishly. When I am able to focus on helping someone else, or I do something that helps me to develop a Christlike attribute, I feel that my time is of great worth, but when I find myself with mixed up priorities that end up robbing time it´s not very valuable an experience. I want to use all of my time to become more converted, all of my time isn´t even mine, so I had better use it right?

You mentioned Ashley does ranger training? What´s that? The two options I can think of don´t really seem to match her: park ranger and power ranger. Well power ranger is out, since I´m fairly certain that show was limited to the 90s and early 00s. Park ranger...well unless Braden wants to go to medical school to become a wilderness trauma doctor I don´t know that it would be too great an investment. Whatever it is, I wish them success in their endeavors!

Conference actually got moved to the following weekend due to elections for regional and local mayorships. Elections are mandatory and require people to go to whatever region their state ID says they are from. Also all meetings (God´s true, restored church or not) are cancelled with heavy fines in place for those that don´t obey. This week that´s coming up, attendance for investigators counts if we take them to a members home to watch the priesthood session together, and the week after if we get them to come to the stake center to watch the sessions of conference. I´ll probably watch it in English this time, just because we will watch it on the office computers and the financial secretary Elder U wants to watch it in English as well. I imagine with the language change deal there will be a few Spanish speakers as well though. Did Presidente Uchtdorf give his talk in German?

Transfers went smoothly and we welcomed a group of 9 Latin elders, 8 American elders, 2 Latin sisters and an American sister to MPLN. These recent groups we have been going to the airport the night before to pick up the North Americans coming in from the Mexico CCM then sorting them into the nearby zones to stay the short night before the training that starts the next morning at 7:30. After the world-wind night it definitely makes me remember my first night in Perú and so I try to keep an open mind and answer as many questions as I can. They definitely come in with a deer in the headlights look and it doesn´t go away for a week or so haha. On Friday we welcomed them back with their trainers to do a training focused on the 12 weeks program and a few of the aspects of the mission manual and studies we want them to implement (strict adherence to the mission schedule and a guided study for their first 6 weeks).

In between the two trainings, we visited district meetings of four of the zones (two per day) and did a work visit on Thursday. I went on the work visit to Wiesse 2. It´s one of 4 areas in the Wiesse ward and one of two that doesn´t include part of a further city region called Jicamarca. At 5 after the afternoon district meeting I left with Elder N from Bolivia and Elder P from Arizona to get to work. While we were walking we talked about their area and a little of what their plan for the day was. Well, Elder P got sick after eating a few too many mandarin oranges the day before and so during the hours of the visit they planned to try to recuperate a few of the fixed appointments they had missed. With that in mind we headed to a shoe shop and found the first appointment Hermana E.  Hermana E doesn´t really have a really firm interest in the church yet, but her son, I think it is, is a member. We taught her why it´s so important that she come to church, focusing on the fact that she also has a younger son (4-6 years) that will be entering a pretty formative period in the next few years. That was a pretty good start and I was excited to be teaching new people and helping the elders to organize a little better their teaching. Next we took a moto out to one of the further parts of their area and taught an older woman whose husband is a member of the military as well as her two adult sons. They are all investigating, but it’s hard because the men are only there every 15 days due to their assignments in the base. That makes it difficult to come to church every Sunday especially because the Sundays they are home, they usually have a ton of things to do around the house. Same kind of lesson in that house.

After that we proceeded to walk around their area as the fog rolled in trying to find people who would let us teach. Don´t get me wrong, we went to specific houses of people they are currently teaching or have contacted in the past, but nobody wanted to let us in because it was really cold and many weren´t home. Coming up over one of the hills I was praying we could find somebody to share with in part because my being there was making Elder N nervous as their plan fell apart, and we decided to visit an active member´s house. Well, a computer technician let us in, but he turned out to be from the next ward over and an RM, so we shared a quick message about the mission never really being over and asked him if he knew any of the neighbors around there. He said no, but he mentioned a few people from his ward that could use a visit. I passed on that information after the visit, but it was great to just find someone after a long time just walking in the cold. Good spiritual experience just knowing that God is a Father and is really is
pendiente (mindful) of our needs and righteous desires.

Saturday we were invited to go have lunch with President and Sister Erickson (long story short: Elder B and Elder M changed his flat tire at a massive baptism a few weeks back and he decided it was worth a lunch). We took the city bus system to about 8 blocks from their house and then took a wrong turn so fixing our mistake we took a taxi for 5 soles (really cheap and he knew the neighborhood better than we ever would have) to get to residentes door. His house is well outside the mission so generally only the missionaries who are finishing their missions go there for the goodbye dinner. He lives in a penthouse/condo with the floors below occupied by two other Lima mission presidents. The view from 21 stories is incredible and we could see the ocean while Sister Erickson served us guacamole and tortilla chips (first time in 19 months!) After the appetizer, we sat down to eat and President brought out filet mignon cooked medium rare, baked potatoes and mushrooms with steamed broccoli. He offered to cook the meat more if we liked, but he´s a pretty big fan of it that way, and well, he can be pretty persuasive. It was soooo good. He mentioned that he usually cooks that for  the departing missionaries as well. I took advantage of the opportunity to take a picture with the two of them, because I know you still wanted that haha.

I love you all, that was how my week went, I guess a little more spiced up than the regular weeks between activities. Next one are the interviews and room checks again. I can´t believe it’s already been 3 months! Time to clean your rooms there, too. I imagine Melissa´s neater now than before? Have a great week.


Elder Nelson

p.s. Melissa never was unorganized before, I just like seeing if she´ll react when Mom reads this :)