Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Mission Calls and Enduring

I read all of the emails, Kolby’s first obviously, but there’s no time to write due to informes. Congrats to Kolby I love you all and will write you later!

Love, Elder Nelson

Dear Family,

Business first, yes I sent a package through a member and by extension of her through Vanessa, right about the time that I left my last area, It was the quinceañera package that I was sending for Melissa´s birthday. It also had a few other fun things for those of you who are still home :) I still haven´t gotten your package because the paquetero didn’t come to our zone this week, the personal secretary did with some birth certificates for marriages in our zone. Even though I want the package to come, I was a little more grateful for the certificates because it means that these couples can finally get married and be baptized. The birth certificates are generally the big hold up with marriage here in Lima, because the city where they were born has to send the certificate all the way to Lima by mail. That means if they lived 3 hours by boat in the jungle from the nearest city then the people there have to make the personal trip, bring back the certificate and then send it by airmail from the jungle to Lima, and then the postage in Lima has to take it to the offices. It can take up to 3 or 4 months to get into the hands of the missionaries hoping to marry them.

Congratulations to Kolby! Mission calls are exciting and a spiritually uplifting experience to say the least. This last month, Elder Waddell came to the mission and told us that the meeting in which he has felt most strongly the influence of the spirit was the meeting in which he accompanied an apostle when he was assigning mission calls. Guayaquil is lucky to have you, and don´t worry about not seeing each other. 2 or 3 or even almost 4 years is nothing to a Heavenly Father who has sent us here for 80 or 90 or even 100 years. I have talked to several Elders from Ecuador throughout the day and they say to expect chills because Guayaquil north has the mountains, the sierra if you will. Even more, there’s a couple of elders that are from there, and they will be home by the 6 month mark in your mission, so I will have to figure out their wards and stakes to see if I can send you saludos from Peru :) You´re one of a valiant few relatively speaking amongs jovenes en estas dias. Los que deciiden servir en una mision obetienen bendiciones eternas, y estoy emocionado por su decision de servir. Te quiero mucho hermano, sigue fiel!
(amongst youth in these days. The decision to serve a mission gives eternal blessings, and I'm excited about his decision to serve. I love you brother, stay faithful!)

Something that has been on my mind recently has been the need to persevere in the faith, to endure to the end. We have a pair of investigators that are having to persevere and endure even before being baptized. Hermano Gustavo and Hermana Reyna have been investigating the church for about 6 months now, and are regulars in the chapel. They are about 50 years old and have several granddaughters who are members of a few years. They aren´t married but they have had a desire to be married for probably the whole 6 months of investigation.

The problem they face isn´t too common, but common enough to have a solution that is known by the mission. Hermana Reyna has her birth certificate readily at hand, but Hermano Gustavo well...he doesn´t exist according to the Peruvian government. His birth certificate was never made or was lost from the archives in his little town in the sierra. That means that many of the missionaries before haven´t gone on to continue teaching him because the process to make a birth certificate is like the process of divorce here, it takes about 6 months and a lot of papers that are unfamiliar to the average or even experienced missionary.

The missionaries before us took on the challenge and sent a solicitud to the town where he is from to look for papres corroborating his existence there, for example the certificate of baptism in the catholic church. Once we received that we were able to send a solicitud asking them to acknowledge that he existed and that his birth certificate doesn´t. Now with that we can apply to the national system to get a certificate made. On top of all of this process, he started to take interest in the church when he fell from two stories of scaffolding with his back to the ground, but by a miracle ended up landing on all fours like a cat. He was pretty bad, and the medical bills still aren’t paid, but he is recovered. He is a good man, and has a strong interest in the church now, he reads the Book of Mormon to Reyna who can´t see very well due to overdosing on some supplements a woman in the market had given her for arthritis pains.

I love them so much, and when they expressed to us their testimony of the church the other day I couldn´t help but feel moved by their faith to endure in spite of all of the problems. The average person would have told the missionaries not to bother and continue to live together out of wedlock, but they are determined to do what is right no matter the cost.

That’s all I have for today. I love you all, and every day I feel the growing influence of a loving Savior in my life. That´s the message I love to share most: he lives and LOVES us. He is our Loving Heavenly Father, Christ died and came back to life because He Loves us. I love you all, and hope that this week you feel an increased amount of Heavenly Love.


Elder Nelson

Fotos nxt week hopefully

Monday, March 17, 2014


Dear Family,

It`s not exactly mission rules that I have to write a shorter letter to you all every Monday. It´s just that now, I have to write reports every Monday during my internet time, and the priority according to the mission is the reports, my letter to presidente, and then my letter home. That means that if something gets shortchanged because I am now packing more things into the time limit, it´s the letter home :/.

Notwithstanding, I am determined to write a quality letter every Monday, even if it has to be a tad shorter due to time constraints. Starting with investigators. This happened yesterday:

We went to the house of a recent convert, PF, less active and non member. Its all 4 focus groups in one household, the Romero family. The recent news is that the old elders baptized on of the matriarch´s daughters, Jaky, without having her marry her live in boyfriend because when the wedding came around, her boyfriend disappeared for 3 or 4 days. Daniel had had some drug problems and he fell, hard, the night before the wedding. Well the elders made a not so smart choice and decided that it would be okay to baptize her because they were technically separated.

Fast forward a month and a half to when we got here. They had obviously gotten back together and it was a bad situation, now that Jaky is a member and well greater light is means greater condemnation. So we hit the fast track on recovering Daniel and getting their marriage papers in order. Now we have been here three weeks, and we are planning a pollada, and event where they make fried chicken and French fries with a little bit of salad and sell it at an inflated price to raise money. It´s super common and the take happens to come to about exactly the price of a marriage, so we have several in the plans for the investigators we have here.

They are two we are working with. I will give another vignette of our investigators next week! I didn´t receive the package, but it ought to come soon no worries. Just an administrative thing, my converts want to connect to me on facebook /those from my other areas) but I think it’s still under Cameron Nelson. Could you change it to Cameron Bryce Nelson..it should be easier to find for them.

Did you all get the package I sent?

Love you all, have a great week and make great decisions!


Elder Nelson

And later in the day:

PS con permiso especial tengo treinta segundos para escribirle un feliz cumpleaños madre mia. Hace 20 años que me dio la vida y te agradezco por todo el sacrificio, todo el amor, todas las lagrimas de frustracion y gozo que han brotado de tus ojos. Eres mi madre, la mujer más importante en mi vida y te amo con cariño familiar. Que pases un día especial, con familia, y recuerdas que próximo año lo pasaré felizmente contigo.


Elder Nelson

Here is the translation:

"P.S. I got special permission to take 30 seconds and write you a birthday note. 20 years ago you gave me life, and I thank you for all the sacrifices, love and all the tears (of both frustration and joy) that you shed for me. You are my mom, the most important woman in my life and I love you tenderly. Have a special day with the family! Remember that this coming year I will joyfully celebrate your birthday with you.
Elder Nelson

Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Time Management

Save a Cow...Eat Chicken!
Dear Family,

(from Peggy:)I got a very fun call from Jodi Cannon today (Benton City).  She wanted to tell me about her letter from Elder Dalton Cannon.  He is serving in Chile Santiago West.  He had a young man return home from his mission to the ward Elder Cannon is serving in.  He said he knew a missionary on his mission from Washington...Elder Cameron Nelson.  The missionary was Elder Claudio Leiva.  He is from Chile, Avanida Matta ward in the Santiago West mission.  Dalton wrote, "Could it be???"  So she called to see what mission you were in!  Did you know him?  How? Did you serve together?  I didn't have him down as one of your companions.  So fun!!!!  Such a small world sometimes!
Yep, it´s the same Elder Claudio Leiva from MPLN. He was my first district leader in Magnolias, and I’ve seen him in a couple massive marriages and conferences since then.

You can let Grandma Andy know that I got her letter the other day and read it a few times. I love to hear from them and know how they are doing. I worry about their health, but if they’ve made it to a year in my mission, they ought to be able to make it many many more. 

Dad wrote and mentioned that during his mission, when he was in the offices, he was just as successful as when he was working full time. I´m seeing those blessings. This month we are preparing two couples for marriage. One that the missionaries have been teaching for a while, and another that the missionaries baptized the wife when they were separated, but now they’ve gotten back together, and need to get married. It’s really sad that here, marriage is only considered if you have a lot of money. We often ask people when they got married after they tell us they have been together 20 or 30 years, and they say they never got married, due to difficulty with papers or with money.

As well dad, the mission has 12 zones, and is preparing to have a 13th. Two stakes have two different zones, and the average stake of 6 to 8 wards has 20 missionaries.

That’s all the time I have this week, we just have to get accustomed to not having long letters, because the reports take so long. I don`t think I will be writing many people other than you guys from here on out, I just don’t have the time.

Love you all, take care and remember to do the things you know are right.


Elder Nelson

Zona Collique

Dear Familia,                                                                                                                                         

Well you were right, I met a ton of people this week, more for the changes than anything, but I did spend the last two days or so hospitalized. What happened is that theres a stomach virus going around in the mission, and we don`t really control our food intake apart from leaving some rice on the plate when I can`t move anymore. 

Also, I was only in the hospital accompanying an elder that has been sick a few weeks. I`ve been assigned as zone leader in Zona Collique in Las Casuarinas ward. As part of my duties, I stayed with Elder Ortiz in the hospital while his companion went back to work in his area. I will be writing more this afternoon. My morning internet time this morning is more for reports on the zone.

Love you,

Elder Nelson

 Dear Familia,

Of course I wasn´t sick. I wrote that I was only accompanying the elder that was sick. I have been just a little bit common coldish, but that is very quickly going away. I am one of three zone leaders in Collique, which is a part of San Felipe Stake in Comas, Lima. Part of my duties have been to accompany Elder Ortiz in the hospital, write a bunch of reports on Monday and look for apartments and make the move for a couple of elders that are opening a new area in the zone. 

The district leaders don`t take as much of a load in the MPLN, due to President Blunck´s policies, and so the Zone leaders do a LOT of extra work outside of what is regular proselyting. My companion, Elder Oliva (from Guatemala) told me that one week last transfer, he and his  companion spent approximately 5 hours proselyting as compared to the regular 50 or 60 for various leadership tasks that they had to complete. I`ve definitely seen that this week, as my other companion Elder Rosi (Argentino) has been in and out of the clinic as well for an ingrown toenail that he had to have fixed. We taught from about 5 or 6 PM forward for a few days while he recovered.

The area I`m in is pretty hilly, not like the stairs in my first area, but just up and down streets everywhere, and nowhere is really all that flat. I like it, it’s about as far from the offices as you can get in one of the three directions of the mission. It takes somewhere around 45 minutes to get to the offices from our area, if the right bus passes at the right time. 

Elder Oliva came to Collique this transfer as well, together with me, and has 14 months, so he basically has the same time as me, but he`s been a zone leader for a transfer more. He`s a bigger guy, loves to laugh, more of a disciplinary leader but with creative punishments, like the seminary teacher that has you sing I`m a little teapot for coming to class late. He keeps things interesting, and really wants the zone to be better missionaries one by one. (Our zone finished the last month at the bottom of the pile in terms of numbers, and has only been a zone for one transfer.)

Elder Rosi is pretty relaxed, but he has a very different perspective than Elder Oliva and I because he`s already finished his two years, and is here for three weeks more to show Elder Oliva and I the area and zone, by  special request from presidente. He loves his investigators and is preparing all of them to stay faithful even when he goes.

As far as journaling goes...well my journal habit died about a month ago when I was well invested in helping Elder Viza out. And now as a zone leader there’s even less time to dedicate even though when I remember about my journal I feel bad. I know how important journals are, and to have left it for so long hurts quite a bit. Maybe this change I will be able to figure out a good time to write. We are often awake more than until 10:30, making phone calls with the assistants or making the financial reports of the zone. It´s exhausting, but I can at least control the other half of the mission schedule by getting up at 6:30 every morning. I am finding things to control little by little. We have autopension completo in this area as well. This room even has a hotplate and a large fridge, a microwave and a blender. Recipes are welcome :)

I`m gaining a testimony this week about selfless service. Really there´s little or nothing that Christ did for himself, and as His servants we should show equal desires as we serve our fellow servants and brothers and sisters. We should do everything possible to make things easier for one another and look for ways to be serviceable, without expecting a reward. Serving like that gives us greater access to spiritual guidance and more gifts of the spirit.

I love you all, I`ve loved hearing about all the changes in your lives and thinking about how different things are in two years, be it in Peru or in the US. The changes I see here are eternal. Question of the week: Are the things you worry about most in your life of eternal significance? If they aren`t, what can you do to change that, if they are, how do you mediate the worry?


Elder Nelson