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
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.