Sunday, August 31, 2014

Continue to be Anxiously Engaged

Dear Familia,                                                                                                                                 

Uhhhh, I still haven´t gotten the package, you may want to double check with Vanessa. One of two possibilities comes to mind: either the delivery guy took it to the West mission office (happens all the time because they are also on Carlos Izaguirre) or it´s been received here in Perú in their offices (Inka Envíos) and they haven´t brought it out yet. Either way I´m not too worried about it. It´ll get here eventually.

As for the ties thing, I planned on pulling the money out as soon as I got the go ahead from you. The charge should show up Monday or Tuesday this coming week. We bought them for the wedding so that the office elders could be uniform as wedding staff, then presidente shows up in a tie that also matches the decorations haha. He remembered from the last massive wedding and chose a tie to match.

The unknown address program has actually been a little more fruitful here, maybe because it is a good way to strike up a conversation with the people. We ended up finding family members of those on the list or people who knew them. Ultimately there are actually families coming back to the church because of the elders and sisters putting their part in, even though it can be a tedious program. Sometimes the missionaries feel like another new program from the area or church headquarters is just another burden or hurdle for the work in their area, and to a certain extent, I tend to agree. However, if they comply with the program because they know it’s the right thing to do, they end up with rewards in terms of new investigators, or blessings with current investigators, or who knows what else. I just know that unknown addresses has been one of the programs. When it came it seemed like the straw that would break the camel´s back with all the other focuses we had given the missionaries, but now it´s just a normal part of the work and another way to keep ourselves "anxiously engaged in a good work". 

Congratulations on your new calling mom! I know that this is what you have been preparing for in going to all those institute classes the last couple of years. I think that was a pretty influential thing for me right before leaving on the mission. I´m not talking in terms of content because I honestly can´t remember even the general topic of the class, but in terms of example and life lessons. You may never teach a class that the students will remember forever, but you will change them in the way you show your love for the gospel, in the way you live it every day and teach them life lessons like you have always taught your kids. This calling is excellent for you. PS, if you´re ever in desperate need of a guest speaker in your class in the second´ve got a homegrown one that´s perfectly willing. Just some food for thought :) Say hi to Brother Black for me, I´ve often thought about his family and how they are doing nowadays. Have a great week in class!

Sorry it´s short, but it´s really late and after playing soccer again today with Elder Burrup, I got a little sunburned and it´s given me a little bit of a headache :/ I love you all and I know that when the Lord sends us trials or tests it´s for our own benefit. He truly is the Master Gardener who sometimes needs to prune us and other times needs to let us grow. I hope you all have an inspiring week, and I´ll write better next week!


Elder Nelson

PS FELICITACIONES a mi hermanita en su nuevo equipo, espero que tenga una temporada bien exitosa y que use esta oportunidad para ser la misionera que siempre es! (CONGRATULATIONS to my sister on your new team, I hope you have a successful season well and use this opportunity to be the missionary who is forever!)

Friday, August 29, 2014

Massive Wedding Week

Dear Familia,                                                                                                                         

For sure if I send a package I´ll send it through Vanessa...will you all be paying for it on that end or should I pay it here? The mission policy says that the offices don´t send packages for missionaries (because we don´t have space to keep the outgoing packages), but me being here, it shouldn´t be a problem just bringing it in on the day that the courier comes. I still haven´t gotten the package, but I don´t know if they´ve reported that it´s come yet or not. That was definitely me, actually buying a few ties for the wedding that we hosted. They were 16 soles each ($5.70) and I bought two others for 10 soles ($3.60) as well as another elder´s tie. I will need to take the money out in an ATM sometime this week because I used mission money to buy them. Hooray for cheap ties haha. Do you know if Kolby recieved his package (just an envelope with a couple things in it, nothing big) upon entering the mission? If not I´ll try to send an email to the elder that carried it to try to make sure it got to the offices safely.

Shouldn´t being able to drive alone be a requirement for changing the clock batteries? I think it would be a good idea, or maybe being at least 5 foot 8 haha. However you end up doing it good luck and I hope no one gets hurt, it was definitely a team effort whenever we did it before.

Well, like I mentioned, apart from two more multi-zone meetings this week, we also set up for, were part of and then took down the massive wedding for the mission. We were able to put up the decorations on Thursday afternoon/night and finished in the wee hours of the morning, went to bed and woke up early in order to come back to the church and host the wedding. Needless to say we were exhausted by the end, but it was worth it to help 15 couples be married and be obedient to the commandments of the Lord. The couples came in through a balloon arch and headed down one hallway to a room where they were greeted by missionaries armed with pamphlets, The Proclamation to the World, the Book of Mormon, reference cards, Liahona of the conference edition, and a church-produced video playing on repeat. They probably spend around 15 minutes in that room waiting for the picture scene to be vacated and then it was their turn to take pictures (like the picture I´ve attached of the oldest couple to be married, they came from Carabayllo, about 15 minutes away by bus). After taking pictures, they had their information taken down and they were shown through to a courtyard to take an outdoor picture and afterwards they went to the cultural hall where the municipality workers were helping put the actual wedding paperwork together. They signed their wedding certificate and sat down to wait for the ceremony. Meanwhile, guests came in and sat down in the rest of the rows and were able to listen to one of the zones from the next stake over singing hymns about the family for about a half hour before the program started. During the program President Erickson talked about the importance of the family and mentioned that each family received a copy of the Proclamation to the World and that the ideal family is presided by the father and a mother living in gospel harmony. The city workers gave a short speech as well and then guided them in the wedding vows. Everything finished around 1 and President invited us to go to a close eatery before starting the cleanup, it was a welcome break to be sitting for a while!

The week was incredibly busy, and this week should be a little less. The special project this week while the multi-zones continue is that we are pulling reports from the entire mission about the unknown addresses program. What happened before is that the wards send the member record of members that no longer live in the ward but haven’t asked for their record (presumed inactive) to a "phantom ward" where the area keeps all the names of the people in a similar situation until their record is asked for. This phantom ward probably contains many thousands of people because of the number of years that have passed since they started doing it like that. They are now sending 20 names a month to the wards to look into and report on through the mission and the wards themselves. This week we are getting the reports from all the missionaries and putting them into one giant report from the area. At the same time, we´ve edited the manual for the leaders in the mission and this week we are printing them and putting everything together to send back to the missionaries in the zones. 

Well, I love you all, sorry it’s a little shorter these weeks, we´ve just been really busy but in very few things. Whenever I sit down to write it seems like something else happens and we have to go so sorry if it reads a little disjointed sometimes! Keep up the effort to be "fourth members" it's hard, but it´s worth it!


Elder Nelson

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Lomas de Lucumo

Remember how last week I said I would send pictures? Well, here I am, delivering on that promise. These are all from the trip we took to Lomas de Lúcumo in the Pachácamac region. The most green I have seen in probably my entire mission happened in this one trip. When we got about halfway up, the fog rose and we literally couldn´t see more than 20 yards ahead! The path got pretty slick sometimes due to the ground being wet with the fog, which made for a tough ascent and a little more comical descent. Only 3 of the 7 of us fell down and nobody got hurt.

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Two Bombers meet up....

First a couple of fotos from a couple of weeks back as well. This is the time we went to play against the Lima Central Mission. A typical Pday in the offices is every once in a while going with Lamoni Tours to play soccer. Sometimes against other missions, mostly not, but they always give us lunch afterwards so everyone´s happy!

Dear Familia,

Of course I met Elder Buckner and Elder Hovenden! I went with the office elders and president to pick them up from the airport the night they got in and the next morning we had a training with them, a lot similar to what Kolby's was like. We start an orientation about all of the dos and don´ts here in the MPLN as well as take pictures with president and sister Erickson and we have them write a letter to be scanned and sent to their parents. Meanwhile, the rest of the mission that has changes is out back of the chapel in the soccer field receiving the changes from President. From their the two sides come together as the trainers come inside to eat pizza with the new missionaries (without knowing which ones will be together). The instruction is to sit in front of any of the already seated trainers and to share the pizza with them.  Afterwards, we all go to the other side of the chapel and Presidente gives final instructions before reading off the list of the new missionaries, where they will serve, and who their trainer is. Everyone gets to their area around 3 in the afternoon and then it´s off to work.

I haven´t gotten the package from you yet, but it should be coming in soon, no worries. I did get a dearelder from sister Grimmett and the letter from Kolby that he sent with Elder B. That's a funny story. Elder B comes off the bus to meet us in the airport (their plane got in early and the transport team had already loaded them up) and hands me the letter, then he proceeds to tell me that he forgot a load of laundry in the Mexico CCM...and that maybe they could send it to the East mission with the group of missionaries that would be going there the following day. So at around 11:30 at night we sent an email to the Mexico CCM asking for that to happen, but obviously no one can answer until morning. The next morning after all the missionaries have come in from the surrounding areas where we had farmed them out to, we finally receive an email saying they would be able to do that. I put Elder U in charge of getting the clothes from the East mission because he has a friend over there and as well Elder Ba and I would be in multizone training for the next couple of days. 

Friday, after an additional training for the new elders about the 12 weeks program, Elder U arrives with Elder B´s clothes saying that the East mission has a new presidente and that just a couple weeks ago he changed almost all of the office staff, bringing in a redhead from Richland Washington to be his personal secretary! I was absolutely ecstatic for Elder Burrup and then Elder U dropped the bomb...this new president in the East mission might let them come play soccer with us. I was speechless and waited for the phone call later that night. Answering the phone I started typically Hi this is Elder Nelson from the MPLN...hi this is Elder Burrup...AAAGHAHAG!  He said they had talked to their presidente and would be able to play, so we met up today in Los Olivos and played soccer against each other while catching up just a little. He says their mission also got cut down to just Lima and that Sister Rhoten ended up in the Huancayo mission, she´ll be finishing up soon. Their supplies secretary is from Othello and happens to be a Calloway cousin, how wild right?
Anyhow, that was a big surprise and a lot of fun to be able to see him and know that a couple of tri city boys ended up on the other side of the world together. Funny you mention being healthy. The new supplies secretary here got sick just about right away when he came in and spread it to me, but it´s nothing but a cough and sore throat deal. Today I have actually been just about completely over it, so don´t worry about ti at all.

The car that Melissa passed the test in looks like it got a couple new dings in it...related? I think so ;) Just kidding, I´m sure Melissa is a wonderful driver and that she won´t get into any accidents like her older brother. 

I guess today is a short letter but with a ton of fotos. How´s that for a trade off? I love you all, and hope that this week will be a great one. I´ll take that invitation to be the random act of godly mercy in the lives of those I run into and hope you all do the same!


Elder Nelson

Sunday, August 10, 2014

Sincere Prayer

Dear Familia,                                  

I like that Idea as well. (Writing the top 12 things you have learned on your mission…) I´ll have to put some thought into it and see what I come up with next week. Oh before I forget, thank Aunt Janet for the Dear Elder. I got it last week and forgot to mention it! It´s really great to hear from family members.  Know that I read your letters and feel great knowing all that´s going on even if I don´t find the time to write back specifically!  I´m really glad Grandma’s doing great. An Elder here in the offices had a family tragedy last month and had a rough time after having lost his grandma, and it made me think a lot about just how fragile things really are and how we honestly don´t know what will happen. I´m happy that you are all safe and happy and leading productive lives.

It´s true the Ericksons have been going to the lake (Twin Lakes, Washington, where we have been going every summer) for around 30 years or so now, or at least that’s what I seem to remember from our conversation over lunch the other day. Their group isn’t all members and so he didn´t show too many photos of his group (Hermana Erickson said it probably wouldn´t be too appropriate due to swimwear) but it´s definitely the same lake. He even mentioned a few good spots to go look for huckleberries though he also mentioned they would be picked clean probably just two weeks prior to getting there ourselves (that’s their week...somewhat). On a side note...did Braden go to the lake this year? I feel like he didn´t because of school or something, but I don´t remember if he and Ashley went on with Summer term because the seasons have me all backwards here. You should all be in the middle of winter term already.

Funny story. Today we went to a place called Lomos de Lucuma. It´s super cool and a good hike (about 3 hours in a loop). We went because the tourism site that the mission uses to take missionaries to Interpol and immigrations gives a prize trip to missions that buy more than 15 services in the month. We had a lot of missionaries using their services this last month, so they took us on the trip (approved by President Erickson of course). Well, the driver is someone we know fairly well, but this was the first time he had driven the offices on the trip and so we were asking him about his family and where in Lima he lives and things like that (they are all members). Well it turns out he is from the same stake and knows him pretty well. (I am not sure what the connection is here.  It didn’t make much sense the way Cameron wrote it.  I will try to find out in the next letter.) It was cool to see how the world is even smaller than we see it when we see it as a small, small world.

According to the schedule (i.e. if I don´t stay in the offices to the end for a strange reason like another weird Central American style change like what happened to Elder A) I should be leaving the offices on November 4th. For Christmas, I will call and we can talk about mission related things and try to keep as focused as possible while acknowledging that I might get home soon after. Honestly I used to like planning ahead for things and projecting into the future in order to be more efficient or make things happen, but the more I do that now, the more other missionaries remind me how close I am to finishing. IT´S STINKIN 6 MONTHS AWAY! I will be staying here a good long while and I like that haha. They can try, but they won´t get me trunky. As for birthday plans, I think I should be fine, I actually don´t know the status of my bank account other than that you are trying to maintain it at whatever the amount it is that we decided on with my savings account. I don´t pull money out very often, but I am thinking that I will try to get a few things for recuerdos while I´m still here in the offices, probably closer to the end of my time in here.

There’s a massive marriage offered for here in the offices the 22nd of October. The municipality of Center de Lima has been working really nicely with us for the last couple of months. They were the organizers of the marriage in the water fountain park a month ago and they let us organize this one here in the offices at no additional cost and included they would drop the cost of the marriage to absolutely nothing. The only things that the couples are buying are the copy of their birth certificates, their medical checkups, and their documents that say they are single. It´s literally a third of the cost of the regular marriages we do. We are SOOO grateful to them for doing that and it´s been a miracle to see that the Lord opens doors for us on a daily basis so that the work can move forward.

I love you all, I hope that you are working on developing a sincere relationship with Him and trying to looking for His will constantly. That´s my goal for this week as we get ready for changes and the multi-zone conferences this month!


Elder Nelson

PS I will try to upload a few fotos of PDay tomorrow, no time tonight!

Saturday, August 2, 2014

Motivated by the Spirit

Dear Familia,                                                                                                                                         

Okay so this week it´s probably going to be a little shorter just because it´s already late and I just found time to write. Things have been crazy this week. We have read the fourth missionary talk and we want to apply it in a big way, so we have made a commitment to be the most hard-working and the most innovative assistants the Lima North Mission has ever seen. Therefore, this week we went to 8 of the 12 zones. We started on Tuesday and went to two zones a day to do special district meetings every day until Friday. Every day we started the meeting at 9 and ended at 12 then the other meeting from 2 to 5 in the afternoon. We were absolutely wiped last night when we had finished.

Well this week I also found out how much better it is when we can look for the spiritual guidance that others need and not only rely on our own knowledge or judgment. On Tuesday we headed out to the closest zone other than our own and attended their district meeting. Well, the basic district meeting starts with a hymn, a prayer, the 5 goals of the MPLN, a spiritual thought and a 5 minute talk in English. After that we split up into the actual districts for a training directed by the district leaders. After maybe 45 minutes of that we get back together in the zone and the zone leaders have an hour to train. We took that hour and gave trainings, the basic goal being to give the same message to the whole mission. 

Elder Barrientos started off with a good training about obedience and how to take correction gracefully (not sure how well that translates, but it´s basically being able to be corrected without getting upset about it). It was really good, then came my turn and I started to give my training about planning to have success. I started off with a quote that says that if we don´t have plans, then our goals are only dreams. I detailed the life of the author (Antoine uhhhh forgetting his last name he’s a French pilot.) and applied it to the mission and how we have to plan if we are ever going to make our desires and goals for our area come to fruition. It totally bombed. It came off really dry and I felt like nobody paid any attention and basically I just didn’t feel the spirit during the presentation. We still had to give another training in the afternoon in our own zone and I was really worried it would come off the same in every zone of the mission. Bueno, we started with the leadership meeting and we kind of gave it to the zone leaders for not being better examples (the whole zone has gone down fast in terms of indicators and we think it´s because the leaders concentrate more on visiting their missionaries than on their own area). After that I knew I wouldn´t give the same training as in the morning, but I didn’t know what I would say to the zone either. Well Elder Barrientos had decided to talk to them about their indicators being a measure of how dedicated they are to the work and during his whole training I could feel how bad they all felt, not because he was harsh, but because he was telling them the truth.

I got up and honestly didn’t have more than one verse I found when I flopped open my triple while listening to Elder Barrientos. Alma 31:34-35 It´s Almas prayer for help to bring the Zoramites back to the church. We read it and then I noticed that he asked for two things: power and wisdom to be able to help them. I centered the entire training on those two and how we can become powerful missionaries if we do the little things and trust in our calling. The spirit filled the room and I gave a really heartfelt testimony about the power of these missionaries. They could see that we have great confidence in them and when they aren´t living at their privileges then we are disappointed. I finished up with Alma 31:23 about how the Zoramites went back to their houses to do things in their own way and they didn’t talk about God until the next week. I pleaded with them to let that day be the turning point and not just go back to their areas to do things they had always been doing them and it worked. The missionaries left really excited and empowered to get to work and be better. 

I ended up using that training during the week, it was the one more motivated by the spirit!

I´m pretty fine with everything. My shirts are starting to all open at the collar from use but I´m not sure if I want any more super nice ones from CTR (I saw the price tag and it scared me a little bit:/ ). For that reason I might end up sending you an email and going to buy some from a store here. Haven´t decided what to do about that yet, any opinions? Other than that things are great maybe a notebook with tear out lined paper, I can´t seem to find the lined paper I had and they don´t make it the same here. Honestly I don´t know what I want or if peanut butter M&Ms would make it without going bad. Just a thought. I´m here all day so munchies would be nice :) 

Wilson Llanos was called to be the first counselor in our bishopric about three weeks after I got here...I see him all the time, or mostly Sundays and in activities. But yeah I see him.

Quaker is oatmeal, don´t get me wrong, but here they make it as a drink so they use very little actual granola flakes and I think they usually strain even those out so it’s like a milk based drink with cinnamon and a few granola flakes...

I love you all and I hope that you are letting yourselves be guided by the spirit every day!


Elder Nelson