Monday, June 23, 2014


Hey,                                                                                                                                                    June 21, 2014

Sorry for not writing today, just got a couple of projects today and had to work through the majority of the day. I´ll be writing tomorrow so no worries there! Love you all, and hope that Sunday is the breath of fresh air it should be!


Elder Nelson

Dear familia,                                                                                                                                       

Parque de las Aguas

Parque de las Aguas


Office Elders Wearing French World Cup jerseys...because they are cool jerseys, that's why...

With Elder Mariscal

Well, Perú is still a South American country and they are still Latin and speak Spanish, so it’s pretty much guaranteed that they are wild about the world cup, even if they don´t necessarily have a team to root for. Here, when it´s a big game, absolutely everything stops, or it seems like it. I mean, traffic goes on and the streets don´t go empty, but working with individuals or families is really difficult. Luckily, we work with missionaries, and that’s fairly easy. You tell them to be at the multi zone conference at such and such time, and it doesn´t matter if their country is playing or not, they are there, and ready to listen. Kinda nice right? I also get updates from the majority of the people around, being an American it’s easy for them to pick me out and say, hey your team´s group is pretty rough looking, or your country actually won, though it didn’t look like it would. It´s a little inescapable, but you just kind of take the comment and move on with the day.

When I was in my final couple of weeks to leave on the mission, I left behind facebook and my phone (except for the final goodbye calls on the last day) and tried to concentrate, but I really was a little in denial. Mostly because never having left home for more than a few months, I couldn´t even begin to imagine being in a foreign land where I didn’t know anyone, and not having such constant communication available. I just felt like my life like that wouldn´t ever end, waking up, doing the few things I had to and then spending family time. It was a little idyllic, but I recognize now that those two weeks were meant to be a representation of my life in a limbo, and now I don´t want to go back to it. I wasn´t progressing, I was stuck, not moving forward, but not going backwards either, and being in the mission I know that I can´t let myself do that after the mission. Apart from practical advice like, bring a couple pair of khakis (now mission appropriate) or get in physical shape, I think it´s just making sure he spends the last couple of weeks taking advantage of the life he is leaving behind fully and completely, and for good. I think that´s what he is doing, and I commend him for it. Live it to the last breath, because once you embark on your mission, you will have a different focus. I´m not saying that the life before is bad and that you´ve got to sin just a little more before repenting, I´m saying it´s just different.

For dad, that kind of analogy works for discipleship as well. Christ was very very direct with his disciples in making sure they knew that when they chose to follow him, there was no excuse, no possible cop-out that was sufficient to satisfy failing the covenant to follow Him. In Lucas 9:57-62, He wipes away the excuse for not following him because of a family commitment or because of friends. No one, and no one, can be between us and the Savior. When we choose to follow him it really is all or nothing. Another great example is the parable of the great feast (Lucas 14:16-20, 26, 27, 33) in which He tells us that we can´t use the excuse of business, or of spousal duties, and ultimately the very personal faults we have. It costs everything. When Jesus taught about the pearl of great price, the pearl merchant sold everything he had just for the pearl, and King Lamoni´s father told Aaron he would give up everything he had and then his own sins to know God. When we agree to be disciples, we can´t choose to do it halfway. 

President Erickson always says (quoting Joseph Smith Jr.) that there are two powerful things in the universe: the atonement of Jesus Christ, and personal choice. The thing is though, that Jesus Christ already did his part in performing the atonement. Therefore, when we want blessings, we only have to look at just how committed we are in our personal discipleship of Jesus Christ. When there’s something that impedes us from following him wholeheartedly, we have to do as Paul counsels, and root it out of us, cut it off, do what is necessary to maintain true to the principles He taught. We have to choose to be His disciple, and then He blesses us for it. Hope it helps :)

Mom, of course I have he God´s armor coin. I´ve also acquired a pin that has the Perú flag and the Ecuador flag on it (two of them actually) and wanted to send it to Kolby, but it won´t get there in time. Do you have his mission home address? I´d like to send a bubble envelope there with the pin in it for him to have in the mission. I don´t think I will send the armor coin because I couldn´t stand to lose it, we´ll have to see how we get it to him. 

Melissa is awesome...´nuf said.

This week we had multi zone conferences in the mission, 4 this week and one more this Tuesday. That means we get up at 5 and head out to the church building of the conference to set up the sound equipment. This round I didn´t need to prepare a training so I got to soak it in and learn a lot. President talked about the work of salvation, sharing a couple of things about the mission presidents´ conference a couple weeks back and then also talked about inviting others to be true disciples of Christ. Totally robbed his training for that paragraph or two for dad. Elder Artero gave a good training on obedience and how necessary it is in order to obtain blessings promised by the Lord, and Sister Erickson talked about room revisions coming up in a few weeks. 

This last Thursday there was a massive wedding in the Parque de las Aguas (Parque de la reserva, Circuito Magico de las Aguas). You can google that if you want. We went to take pictures to use in the new slide show for new missionaries and also to see how cool it was (gotta be honest, pretty stinkin’ cool). We took pictures in front of the major fountains and also of the missionaries who married couples that day. The photo where I am alone with an Elder is with my son, Elder Mariscal, he´s doing really really well and happens to be in our zone that we are assigned to, even though we don´t technically do much with the zone.

Well, that’s about it, I´m doing great. I am excited for the challenge of the coming week (here come changes!) and ready to continue helping Mision Peru Lime Norte be the best mission in the world. Love you all!


Elder Nelson

Tuesday, June 17, 2014

Parable of the Pen

Dear Familia,                                                                                                                                         

I guess summer is a happening time of year there. Seems like a lot of changes are coming, but the constant is still there, mom is proud of her kids. There´s something in that which has always motivated me and deterred me from doing wrong at the same time. Whenever I think about doing something I shouldn´t, I think of the many many mom, dad, and now-elder Nelson councils in the den in the old house and in the hobby room in the current house, and how I don´t want that to happen again, and then I don´t do it. On the flip side, I can always think of when you´ve taken me aside when things aren´t going the way I wanted and assured me that things will be okay, that I need to take a step back and see the bigger picture.

Before I forget, I have to wish Braden a happy late birthday! I´m sure it must happen a lot, being at the beginning of the month, but it´s no excuse. You´ve been an example to me and a friend, you show me that the work doesn´t stop when you get off a plane, but continues onward without skipping a beat. Thanks, and I hope your birthday was grand!

Also happy father´s day to dad. This year because I’m in a more commercial sector of the city, I´m noticing that the holidays or father’s day and mother’s day are a little more even than I thought last year. You also have been an example to me forever, and I hope that with Kolby and Melissa home somebody got you a pair of gloves :). (for some reason I think that’s what I got you for 5 straight years or something)

Well, Elder Dallin H. Oaks and his wife, President L. Whitney Clayton and his wife, Elder C. Scott Grow and his wife, and Presidente Erickson and his wife held a conference today in the Limatambo stake (if you remember that´s where Elder Russel M Nelson went as well. We sent 4 large buses and several minibuses the hour and a half to Limatambo at 7 in the morning and got back around 3:00 PM. We got there and then organized the zones to sit together, the sisters up front and the choir (zona san felipe) directly behind the sisters, then we helped the sound guy from the area set up the sound because we had brought ours as a backup, but it turns out that ours produced a lot less echo. We felt glad that we had brought it just to be prepared and we were able to use it. A lot of what I do is that, it´s being prepared for the little eventualities so that things go smoothly despite the human element of things.

The major topic of the conference was commitments. In terms of missionary work, the commitment starts with the missionaries themselves and then it extends to the people they teach. If we as missionaries aren´t willing to commit to something and follow through, how can we ever expect the members we teach to do the same, or even investigators for that matter? It reminded me a little of the lesson you taught me the summer I decided it was a good idea to go to the Boise State wrestling camp. Boy was I in for a rough time. When I called you at lunch the first day to take me home because it wasn´t what I thought it was, you tried very very hard to convince me not to give up, and forever after, I would point to it as one of the very few things that I was allowed to walk out on before finishing the minimum. One of the notes I wrote today while listening to Elder Oaks was a commitment to never do anything halfway. We aren´t members in the church just so we can "try" to get to the terrestrial kingdom. We don´t pay 8% tithing because that’s all we can do. Christ himself didn´t get to the end of His prayer in Gethsemane just to look at Peter and say, well that´s all there is. He came back to show us that the resurrection had to be complete and full, suffering on the cross and ministry in the spirit world included. Faithful members pay 10% because they know that blessings don´t come in fractions, it´s all or nothing. It reminds me of a quote attributed to Elder Eyring, though I believe it´s by an evangelical preacher. It´s called "The Fellowship of the Unashamed":

 "I am part of the fellowship of the unashamed. The die has been cast; I have stepped over the line. The decision has been made. I am a disciple of Jesus Christ. I won´t look back, let up, slow down or be still. My past is redeemed, my present makes sense and my future is secure. I´m finished with low living, small planning, smooth knees, colorless dreams, tamed visions, worldly walking, cheap living and dwarfed goals. I no longer need pre-eminence, positions, promotions, or popularity. I don´t have to be right, first, recognized, praised, or rewarded. I now live by faith, lean on His presence, walk with patience, am uplifted in prayer, and labor with power. My pace is set, my gate is fast, and my goal is heaven. My road is narrow, my way is rough, my companions few, my guide reliable, my mission clear. I cannot be bought, compromised, detoured, lured away, divided, or delayed. I will not flinch in the face of sacrifice, hesitate in the presence of the adversary, negotiate at the table of the enemy, ponder at the pool of popularity or meander in the maze of mediocrity. I won´t give up, shut up, or let up until I have stayed up, stored up, and paid up for the cause of Christ. I must go until He comes, give until I drop, preach all I know and work until He stops me. And when He returns for His own, He will have no problem recognizing me. My banner is clear."

I´ve bolded a pair of the parts that i feel fit best to this quote. Elder Oaks wasn´t nearly as fiery today, but he did show us the apostles and other general authorities of the church are committed. There´s no doubt in my mind that we are guided by the Lord´s chosen few, and that following their leadership is the only hope the world has to restore the values and doctrines that Christ established two millennia ago. He told us to be instruments in the Lord´s hands and showed us a very nice pen that he had.

The thing about his pen is that without an ink cartridge, it doesn´t work very well. He compared that to our studies, we must fill ourselves with the truth before we can express it to others, for all that we want to just burst (he also mentioned that as an apostle he isn´t entitled to a personal opinion, by a direct mandate of the spirit during one of his first conferences as an apostle. To prepare for conferences he just studies and prays for guidance. His ink cartridge gets full and then he begins to "write.") He also mentioned that even if the body of the pen is okay and the ink cartridge is full, if the mechanism to put the point out doesn´t work, forcing it will break the pen. We must be spiritually, emotionally, and physically prepared to share the gospel with others, and we accomplish that by being obedient to the standards and rules of the mission. That preparation extends before and after the mission. Pre-missionaries ought to start living mission guidelines little by little as directed by the spirit and your willingness. Post-missionaries should continue to apply many of the things they learned to respect and follow as a missionary. The last thing he mentioned was part of what makes Elder Oaks human, he was comical in a lot of what he said, and it made us feel good not to just receive a talk from him. He said that the pen never turns around at the hand that is trying to write and says " I just don´t feel like writing today", and therefore we should go forward with a willingness to do the will of He whose instruments we are.

This is His mission, it is His message, and we deliver it in His way. Si desviamos aun lo más minimo de esa manera, tomamos la responsabilidad sobre nosotros, sin poder cumplir con las bendiciones prometidas. (If we divert even the most minimal that way, we take the responsibility on us, unable to meet the promised blessings)  He left an apostolic blessing on us that we would remember what was said during the conference and apply it in the mission and afterwards.

I love you all, I hope that something that I´ve written impacts you personally and that it inspires you to make changes. It´s only by changes that we truly become more similar to Christ!


Elder Nelson

PS Questions section!

What is the mission-wide laundry service?  We haven't heard of this before.  If they wash all the white shirts, how do they not get them mixed up??
There’s an RM and his wife that run a laundry service that washes the clothes for half the mission. His name is Jorge Lopez and he lives in San Felipe Stake (he goes by a nickname Yoyi) They have a staff of all endowed members and so they can wash the missionaries´ clothes. They mark everything as it comes in, including new stuff, in very inconspicuous places. They also separate clothes pieces that will need extra washes or treatment (service clothes) and double check every clothes bag by numbers of pieces of clothing(e.g. 8 shirts, 2 ties, 3 pants, 8 pairs of socks) before sending them back. It’s a turnaround of about 2 days and the service does a preliminary ironing job, which promptly is undone when they are folded and put into the laundry bags, though it means things don´t come back wrinkled like they were wadded up. Hermano Yoyi is incredible, and a great influence in my mission. He was the stake high council member over the missionary work as well as the stake young men’s first councilor when I was in Collique (part of san felipe stake). 

When you travel to different areas, what do you travel in?  bus? taxi? train?
The mission has used a member who owns a taxi for the past 4 or 5 years to transport the oficinistas to do the work visits, shopping for supplies for the mission, and whatever other transport needed by the offices. His name is Hermano Ortega (also goes by Cholo, a regional name for the people from the sierra, though with the emigration of the terrorist era, it´s come to mean all Peruanos.) He can get us to anywhere in the mission within 45 minutes or so as well as waits for us to finish if it’s just a check-up visit. He´s awesome, and it means I won´t be driving in Lima, which is disappointing and relieving at the same time :)

Photos next week! 

Wednesday, June 11, 2014

Appropriate Choices

In the mission offices by the woven mission symbol
Dear Familia,     Kolby graduating hasn´t really seemed like a reality to me for a long time, and now that it´s here it´s still a little tough to imagine. He´s an amazing and talented little brother and I´m proud to call him mine, I hope with graduation finished he can focus on the mission now and get himself ready for the greatest thing he´s ever chosen to do. I want to put a little emphasis on that. The mission is a choice. When an elder or sister chooses to come to the mission it is a conscious choice, and therefore brings the consequent covenant to obey the standards of the mission as well as the commandments. I echo Braden when I say that sending missionaries home early has to be the most wrong-feeling and difficult to deal with in the mission.

This week an elder went home after only one change, and though he was excited to go home in the taxi with his mom (he´s from Lima) his mom was in tears and his older brother stone faced. I can´t imagine what I would feel like going home early , but I know I wouldn’t be able to face the guilt knowing that they were my decisions that brought me to the mission and then my decisions again that made me live it. 

Enough with the tough subject though, I am excited for Darci and Joe, that sounds like an exciting new change of scenery and a new adventure. Tell me where the job is, the financial secretary is from the Tucson area. I know that it´s not my being here that showers so many blessings on you all. It´s honestly a joint effort. I am firmly convinced that when a group of people have a common goal (ETERNAL LIFE AS A FAMILY) and then make righteous, appropriate efforts, they are blessed with success. Part of my patriarchal blessing mentions that: as I make appropriate efforts, I will be rewarded with what I need. Every time I read it, my mind fixes on that word, appropriate. How do I know what God judges to be appropriate efforts, and is that the same thing as acting within the commandments or is it more? I think over time, I´ve come to understand that it really means that I need to seek His will, His specific will in regards to my personal actions, while taking as a given that I live within the commandments He has given.

This week we did a work visit to Zona Tahuantinsuyo and I ended up with one of the district leaders there and his companion Elders Bailey and Sepulveda. We worked in their ward from 4 pm to 9 pm and were able to have a few lessons with some less actives and then a final lesson with a young single adult named Juan. Juan is the only member of his family to be a member of the church and was baptized about 7 months ago. For a single member of the church that’s actually really really good. Usually if they don´t have some kind of internal support within the famliy, they start to go inactive around 4 months, just after the missionaries who baptized them leave. (on a side note, that’s a problem the area is trying to fix with their specific Work of Salvation plan.) Well Juan had some really bizarre questions because of a growing church in his neighborhood. It´s a church based on the fact that the majority of Christian churches don´t mention a Heavenly Mother. Well, I headed the lesson of with a question of my own, "Have you tried sharing the gospel with any of your family members?" He answered yes and no. He had shared, and the missionaries even had taught them before, but they were a little closed minded (I was born catholic and that’s how I’ll die one too!). Well we left the invitation to have the next lesson with the rest of his family and he said yes. We also let him know that as he changes due to his membership in the church, his family will have questions and he should begin to feel comfortable bearing his testimony to them in a simple and casual way: over the dinner table or when they go on family outings. All in all he was a great guy, 18 years old and planning on a mission within a couple of years, leading the way for his family to join the church.

As for the questions you had: We do cook, but kind of like the old area. There’s not time to dedicate to it, so we end up buying things that are already pretty much made or going to the deli on the corner to buy food made to order. Laundry is still by the amazing mission wide laundry service. That’s available in about 3/4 the mission, and I had the opportunity to meet the owner and a few of the employees while I was in Collique. Permission to go see other areas is a given. If I do a work visit I can do a work visit to any area in the mission, including the sisters if I have my companion with me. It literally means the entire mission is my area. The purpose of the work visits is to lift he missionaries up, to correct problems ( or figure out what problems there are) and to improve on their teaching ability. I absolutely love it. Though it’s hard to not really have investigators of my own, I can concentrate myself on the love that the missionaries feel for their investigators, and help them to be even better.

Coming down after the mission would be great. Obviously when I replied it was as clear as mud. I would love to come back to Peru after the mission. The difficult thing would be deciding between going to see families and converts from my areas, or doing the really touristy things like Machu Picchu or the jungle. I´m still not sure which I would prefer. The overwhelming feeling of the missionaries is that we really don´t get to know what Peru is during the mission, due to the fact that geo-physically and socio-economically, the mission fits in a very narrow band. I want to know more about all the places that people describe to me when we come to know them well. At the same time how can I cross so many barriers to come back and then not dedicate time to see the people who have changed me forever while changing themselves? Still not sure, but I´m definitely open to that opportunity (to come back).

I love you all. You are my greatest support and when I stop to really think about how blessed I am to have you, I can´t help but be overwhelmed. You are examples, you are faithful, and you are wonderful. I hope this week we can all look a little closer and realize the many miracles that God works in our lives.


Elder Nelson                                                                                                                                 
At a Museum on P-day

Machu Picchu Diorama

Monkeys at a park we visited
Museum Artifacts

Monday, June 2, 2014

New Assignments and Old Companions

Dear Friends and Family-
Cameron sent an email to me during the week last Monday to explain his new area, and his new calling.  He has been called to serve as the Assistant to President Erickson.  He was hesitant to share because he did not want to be "puffed up or vaunted" (see 1 Cor. 13:4)  I was able to email him back and told him that we are proud of him, not due to position, but because he was willing to serve in that capacity.  He will have some really wonderful experiences and will continue to grow and be stretched in this capacity.  Thank you for your support and love...

Dear Familia,                                                                                                               May 31, 2014

Well, Braden is right, there´s a great difference between the description of his time as an assistant and what I have seen in a pair of weeks. My typical day starts with studies in the office, but during the week about 3 days of the week, we are visiting district meeting with the missionaries and president, so we leave early with the taxista of the mission (Hno Ortega). When we do visits like that, we typically have one in the morning from 8:30 or 9 to 12:00 then lunch with President and Sister Erickson, then a second district meeting with a different zone at 2:00 pm to 5 pm. from there we go out and work with the elders or sisters from the zone to see how they are doing in their area. 

As that happens 3 times a week or so, and we also schedule work visits without meetings during 1 or 2 other days of the week, we have maybe two days of working in our own area, from 6 pm and forward. That´s enough to make it difficult to have investigators  :/ Usually, the assistants don´t have regular investigators, and we share a ward with some Sister leaders. They look for members or less actives that need strengthening and typically we visit them, because it doesn´t require us to be consistently in the area. 

Oh yeah, and I think you already know a little about my companion. It´s Elder Artero...from El Salvador. We were companions about 8 months ago in Año Nuevo, so it´s almost like nothing is too new. He´s been assistant for one change now and usually the time as assistant is 6 months, so we will likely be companions for the majority of my time here. 

When we are in the offices all day long, we do whatever president Erickson asks, looking up information about the zones or where missionaries are, and how they are doing. We also read all of the weekly reports from the zones, welcome the new missionaries, give trainings every 2 to 3 months, interview missionaries when President can´t come and do it and accompany Hermana Erickson to do room revisions. It´s been interesting to see that there´s a lot more supervision than I thought before. There are 229 missionaries in the mission, and we literally have to be prepared to respond about the status of all of them, or at least a basic rundown of where they are, and how they are getting along with their companion. 

This week, we did a visit to the Canto Chico zone, where I accompanied Elder Huambo and Elder Menjivar. Elder Huambo was my zone leader for a transfer when I was in Magnolias. We proselyted from 5 to 9 and taught two or three lessons to less actives. One of the lessons, we met a man that should be going to a ward in the other side of the mission, but after getting baptized a year and a half ago, he had a relapse in drugs and alcohol. He is currently living in a rehab home, whose primary form of rehabilitation is chanting in group to empower the men to leave it all behind...a little strange. However, they let him come to church and he´s done so regularly since he figured out where it is, 2 months ago. He has talked with his bishop about going to the temple to do baptisms, but his bishop here said he can’t even interview him until they have his record in the word (huge problem here: nobody carries their church record with them when they move, and the ward usually will just give them a calling anyway without pulling their record from their old ward) So we took his information and called his bishop from his old ward.

I think I will be able to more see vignettes of the lives of people all over the mission, and not be able to really follow it, but it´s interesting, and it helps me to focus on every lesson like it’s my last with that person, because really it is.

The other visit we did this week was to Magnolias stake, where I really hoped to go to Buenos Aires, my first ward, but they assigned me to accompany Elder McIff and Elder Barrenechea. They are opening an area and so I was able to go and help them out with a list of people to visit they were given by the elder that was over the entire ward before. We taught a sister who identifies herself as catholic, but she was going to church about a month ago, hoping that her activity would help her two teenage sons drop some rebellious habits. We helped her to realize that the only way her sons were going to come to church was if she herself would reestablish the habit and begin to live the gospel more fully. Their ward is full to the bursting and the stake president has said that there will likely be a split soon. The chapel fills up every Sunday and there are people standing in the aisles according to the elders!

As for the visit with Brother Llanos...well we have lunch every Sunday with the sister leaders in our ward, and so we met up with them to go to the members house who was giving us lunch. We walked in and Brother Llanos looked at me a little funny, and asked where I was from, I replied Washington, and then he asked me if I had siblings, and I mentioned the four. When I said Braden he lit up and said I´m Elder Llanos and I about died. I couldn´t stop smiling and we talked about the mission the whole meal. He is doing great, he married a Limeña that also served in MMCME, who actually served while Braden was the AP. Crazy crazy coincidences. He is in my ward and so I will be seeing him often. I also thought, while leaving the house. "Wouldn´t it just be wild if Kolby ended up in Elder Gaibor´s ward?" He lives in the Guayaquil North mission, and was somewhat my trainer (finished the last 2 weeks of my first 12). The world is tiny when we are members of the Church.

I actually am using the SD cards and backing them up onto my flash drive as i go. The reason I haven´t sent any sd cards home is the postage is ridiculous expensive, and also SD cards are pretty cheap here, so I usually keep the full sd cards in my suitcase and back things up onto my flash drive. It works really well, and I have two copies of all of my photos, so I feel secure.  I came with 10Gb of memory cards and 48 Gb of flash drive space, but one of the flash drives got stolen, so I’m down to 32Gb of flash. It has worked really well, so I´d recommend doing that. If you can find a cheap card reader it’s better to use that than to connect your camera directly to a foreign computer by the way.

All 4 secretaries and the 2 assistants live in the same apartment. I might have described it to you in the letter right after I got here. But it’s a big apartment with 4 bunk beds and two regular beds, a kitchen with blender and microwave, a giant fridge, two bathrooms, and a room where we have a table to iron our clothes. That’s the living situation, but go ahead and ask me anything else you’d like to know.

Love you all and hope that this week has been a good one. Constantly learn, ask me about my new study plan next week, I have been learning a TON. Hope you all keep learning and changing everyday...but not too much!


Elder Nelson