Monday, September 30, 2013

Bolivia, Charcas—Week 1

Bus Ride to the Hotel

Well, the moment you have all been waiting for has finally arrived. I only have about 30 minutes to write right now, so it’s going to be quick, but as soon as I am able to upload pictures, I will send pictures of my journal with much more detail.

It sounds like you all had a good week. Although I have technically only been in the field for 4 days, it feels like months.

Goodbye—no, Hasta Luego
We said our final goodbyes in Mexico at 3:30 a.m. The other elders (Bradshaw, Williams, Knowles, and Maw) came to see us off—which was a really huge sacrifice and also a really good thing since Elder Folland and Evans didn’t wake up. (I’m sure there’s quite a story there . . . )

We were able to talk to our families in Panama. We were there for about 3 hours calling and some of the elders wanted to talk longer, so since they were technically my "companions," I just sat and waited. Luckily I was there, though, because Elder Evans got a really bad nose bleed and I had to be his “mom” for a little while and clean up his mess.

Elder Evans multi-taskingtalking and bleeding!
We got some Subway and chilled for the next few hours until we could board the plane.

Plane to Bolivia
I sat by Elder Evans on the way to Bolivia and neither of us could sleep so we just stayed up and chatted for a long time. It was fun and he’s a lot like Dev, so it was nice to talk to him about stuff. After a very long 6-hour flight, we arrived at the airport and got to do all of the fun immigration and baggage check and such. After passing through the doors, there was the Zambrano family with a cute sign welcoming all of us. Pres. and Hermana Zambrano have 2 kids, Gabrielle, and Daniel. Daniel is 17 and has special needs. They immediately made us feel welcome and comfortable.

President and Hermana Zambrano Made us Feel Welcome and Comfortable
Burger King?!
Yep, they gave us Burger King on the bus on the way to the hotel. It was great.
For the next few days, we mostly just stayed at the hotel and hung out. I have more about what we did in my journal entries, so you can read those later, but it was actually pretty boring.

We ate lots of good food—sorry, I can’t pull a Devan and describe every meal we ate, and exactly what I ate at the buffet, but I will just say it was really good food! The end.

Welcome Dinner
Orientation and Companions
I can’t go into much depth, but we had orientation, then we found out who our companions are and where we are serving. My companion is Hermana Suxo from Cochabamba. She is waiting for her visa to Venezuela, so she is serving here for the time being. She has been here for 3 months and I am her first "daughter" or trainee. It was really sad leaving everyone. I cried a lot—especially since neither my companion or the other two hermanas going to our area with us spoke any English. Our area is Charcas and our zone is Parais. It’s close to the city and our area is split between the other hermanas and us.
New Missionaries and Companions
Quesada Familia
We are supposed to visit members every day—which is one of my favorite parts. We were able to meet the Quesada family whose dad is the Stake President. They are an awesome family. Their oldest son is 18 and speaks English! It made my day since I hadn’t really spoken any language for a while.

Letters take about 3 weeks to get here and packages take 4 or more. I sent a letter to the fam today, so it will be a while before you get it.

Also, you may need to ask about the address for packages. Pres. said something about a change of address, but I wasn’t able to communicate with my companion about it.

I was having a really rough time at first with the whole language thing. I was crying a lot (yes, more than usual) and was getting really frustrated, but things are getting better. As soon as I stopped worrying about myself and started thinking about the welfare of others, I felt much better. The hard part is when I am worrying about myself and thinking about me, me, me. When I focus on our investigators and their needs, I feel much better.

I know this is where I am meant to be. I know that serving is going to bless many people’s lives.

My feet hurt, I can’t understand a word people are saying, people look at me like I am the first white person they have ever seen, men on the street whistle and say things my companion won’t explain, the food is different and I can’t find my way around a grocery store, we knock doors all day with little to no success, and it’s the hardest thing I’ve ever done, but I know the Lord is with me every step of the way. I have to pray so fervently and sincerely for help. I love the people.

I will try to send pictures next week. Sorry this is so short. I love you all so much!

Please keep the prayers coming!


Hermana Nelson

Sunday, September 22, 2013

Mexico City CCM—Week 6

Family and Friends!

Well, this is officially my last email from the CCM, and I´m really excited! Our bus leaves at 3:30 tomorrow morning and the 4-hour flight to Panama City is at 6:30. We have a 6-hour layover in Panama, but apparently it’s a really cool airport, so hopefully there will be lots to do. Then we have the 6-hour flight to Santa Cruz!

We printed off our boarding passes and such yesterday and I got seats by the elders in my district so that should be fun.

I've pretty much been all packed and ready to go for the last few days, but today we are finishing it all up. It’s weird though—I only put the things I brought in my suitcases and all the stuff I’ve gotten here in my carry on, but my suitcases are way too heavy. One was originally 70 lbs. (but I got it down to 63 lbs.), and the other is almost 50 lbs. exactly. Hermana Garrett had an extra duffle bag that I may borrow as my carry on, and then I could use my other bag as my “purse” and put as much as I can in there as well. Hopefully I won’t have to pay too much extra for luggage.

***Update as of now (4:30 a.m.), I packed everything had to weigh and re-weigh and transfer things over, but I got each bag under the required weight so we are good to go!

So, Hermanas Avery and Page gave me their blog addresses with all of their pictures and emails on them if you guys would like to look at them. Hermana Avery's mom has a blog that is for all the missionaries they know that are out. It’s a pretty cool blog. Their blogs are: and
So long . . .
Hermano Rowen
So last night when we were weighing our suitcases, I ran into Hermano Rowen. He looked familiar, but I wasn’t sure where I knew him from. Then, he said, “You are Jennifer’s daughter!” I guess he’s been on a mission here for a year now in the Perpetual Education Fund and he’s from the 21st ward in our old stake.

Fitted Sheets
Mom, you’d be so proud of me! I successfully learned how to fold a fitted sheet, and I’m pretty good at it! Our service project this week was in the laundry facility and our job was to fold all the fitted sheets—there were a lot of them to practice on!

Saying Goodbye
We had to say “goodbye” to Hermanas Page and Avery and Elder Miller on Thursday. It was a really rough day, and that’s why the pictures look a little sad. But on the bright side, they are in Chile serving the Lord and jumping right into Spanish! At first I was having a really hard time with it and it didn’t help that people kept asking if I was all right and if I was sad. But I’m doing alright now. It has just been hard not having other people to talk to since we aren’t around the elders very often.
Hermana Balderes
Our District with Hermano Hernandez
We also had to say goodbye to Hermana Balderes and Hermano Hernandez last night. We have all gotten so close—especially with Hermano Hernandez because he is always around and we were his first American district. When we all said goodbye last night, he started crying and kept saying, "mis hijos" (my children). He’s a great guy, and he said he’s going to save up all of his money to come see us when we get home.

Calling from the Airport
I have a 6-hour layover in Panama City, so I should be able to email during that time. Our flight leaves Mexico at 6:30, and we should be in Panama in four hours, so it will be about 10 or 11 your time. I’ll just call numbers and see how it goes.

In-Field Orientation
Friday was a very long day. We had in-field orientation and it lasted all day. It was pretty monotonous for the most part, until one of the last activities. The teachers said they had a surprise for us in the auditorium. While making our way over there, Hermano Hernandez pulled me aside and asked if I could "be his victim.” I agreed, and it turned out that I had to be in the play and speak Spanish! I wanted to hurt him, but it was alright—I only had pretty easy lines in Spanish. It was fun hanging out with all of the teachers.

Hasta Luego
Well, this is it, my very last time emailing from Mexico. I leave in t-minus 8 hours. My next email will be from the beautiful country of BOLIVIA! I am so excited, I can’t even contain it!

I LOVE, LOVE, LOVE you all! Thanks for the prayers and support from all of you! I couldn’t do it without you.


Hermana Nelson

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Mexico City CCM—Week 5

Mexico's Independence Day Celebration!

Family and Friends!

Saddest Day
On Sunday morning we heard a rumor going around the comedor (cafeteria) that every missionary going to Chile was leaving this Wednesday. We thought it was ridiculous, so didn’t do anything about it at first, but then Hermana Avery decided to go check and see if it was true—it was. That means Hermana Avery, Page, and Elder Miller are all leaving Thursday morning/night. I guess it’s their independence day, and the airlines were booked, so the church could only get flights a week early or a week late and they are going a week early. It was a really sad day, but I’m excited for them. We just weren’t expecting it, so it was a really big shock. It’s going to be very different without them around. Our “goodbyes” will be earlier than expected this week.

I’m Leaving on Monday!
Usually the departure information isn’t posted until the Wednesday or Thursday before, but since the Chilean missionaries were changed, they printed the spreadsheet for Bolivia and Ecuador as well, but not anyone else. Now I know when I’m leaving! So my flight is on the 23rd at 6:45 a.m. which means we will leave the CCM on busses at around 2:45 a.m. or earlier. Hermana Garrett's flight is at like 2:00 a.m., so she will be leaving here at 10 or 11 p.m. on Sunday night. I will probably just hang out in the casa until my bus comes since I won’t have a companion.

Blog, Blog, Blog
We got permission from our district leader (Elder Maw) to look at our mission blogs, so I got to go on and see mine. You have done a marvelous job, Mom! Very proud of you! I like that you put the pictures where they are supposed to go and everything. It looks awesome!

Okay, so you asked about how I got my packages from Jacoby and Elder Dishman. Usually, if we have time on Tuesdays, we go to the Thomas S. Monson building to help the new missionaries take their luggage to their casas and such. While chatting with Hermana (Mama) Jones, Elder Davis came in and told me he had something for me from you guys and that he would get it to me later. After a few days, I got anxious and found him. He had left it at reception for me, so I got it and I was so surprised! It was a great package!

Mama Jones (at Oak Canyon Jr. High)
As for Elder Dishman, we checked with Mama Jones the day he was supposed to arrive and she said he wouldn’t be here until like 7 and we'd be in devotional, so I asked her to find him and give him my info. Since she got busy, she wasn’t able to find him. After a few days and no package or any word from Elder Dishman, I decided to go find out where he lived and which district he was in. We went to go find Hermana Jones, but found another awesome senior sister (Hermana Christansen) and asked her if she could get that information for us. She was really sweet and took us back to her apartment and showed us around and then we found Elder Dishman’s information. We went to his classroom, which he wasn’t in, and wrote a note on the whiteboard asking him to come find me. The next morning (Friday), he came to our class and brought it. It was huge! I was not expecting that much stuff (but there was the stuff for Emily and Jacoby as well). I got Emily’s and Jacoby’s to them and it was all great. Tell Sister Livingston “thanks” for the cute little package she sent. It was a sweet gesture! I got the card from Mom last p-day, just after we finished emailing. Thanks! It was so sweet and so unexpected!
Chaco Tan
Kelsey will appreciate this . . . my Chacos are my favorite shoes, and I think if they wear out, I may have you send me some new ones. They didn’t have to be broken in, they breathe, they match with pretty much everything, and they are just so comfortable. Oh, and I’m getting a pretty sick tan line already—even though it’s actually kind of cold here. Hopefully, Kelsey, in 17 months, I’ll come back with a really sweet Chaco tan that even you won’t be able to beat!
Casa Drama
Long story short, we had 12 new hermanas move into our casa last week and it’s been very dramatic all around! Imagine sharing one floor length mirror between 19 girls. Yep, it’s a mess. That’s all I’m going to say about that, but we will all be glad when we get to leave this house full of girls!
Girls, Girls, Girls Everywhere!
Sickly, Sickly
I got a bit of a cold this week and it has been more annoying than anything. At first, it was just a cough, so I went through like 2 packs of cough drops. Then, the next few days I just had a runny nose. I’m hoping it goes away before Monday so I don’t have to be sickly on the plane, but it hasn’t been too bad. Hey, at least I don’t have a parasite (knock on wood)!
Nacho Libre!
One of our favorite ways to joke around and make each other laugh is to quote Nacho Libre constantly. It’s getting to the point where it just weaves into our English and Spanish vocabulary. The other day, we were in a mock lesson and Hermana Avery totally slipped up. Luckily, the whole class knew exactly what she was talking about—except for the teacher. The conversation went kind of like this: Hno. Hernandez, (in Spanish of course): "Hermana Avery, why haven’t you been baptized? "Hna. Avery: "I didn’t get around to it, alright?" (said completely in English and a Nacho accent. It was hilarious and completely perfect)!
Mexican Night
Mexican night was crazy! All the latino hermanas and elders joined us of course, and they were going crazy! I mean, it was their Independence day, but really, Americans have no pride compared to Mexicans! We watched some videos about Mexico’s history and such, and then they had a group perform dances and songs for us. I will try to send the videos as soon as possible because they were really awesome. I loved the dancing because it was so cultural and different. The group that performed must have been members because the closing number was the EFY medley in Spanish. They all sang it and it brought the most amazing spirit into the room! It was a fun break from all of the usual things.
Mexico Independence Day Celebration

Ultimo Templo Visita
Today was our last visit to the Mexico City Temple. We were hoping we would be able to sneak in next week, but we will be leaving on Monday, not Tuesday. It was a really great experience as usual. We got to take some pictures and have a fun time with our district for one of our last times together.
Hermanas at the Mexico City Temple

District 8A at the Mexico City Temple
This week, we've been talking a lot about grace. Hermana Page loaned me a talk by Brad Wilcox on grace called, “My grace is sufficient.” I love the concept of grace—especially since it is so necessary in the lives of missionaries. Look up this talk and read it if you have a little time.
" . . . and Elder Holland, you light it up!”
This quote is from a devotional by Elder Bednar that we watched a few weeks ago. It was a month after the General Conference missionary announcement and he was talking about how the apostles don’t plan their talks, but if they did, it would go something like this, "Elder Bednar, you talk about missionary work, Elder Nelson, talk about obedience, and Elder Holland, you light it up!"

This quote is true pretty much every time we watch a devotional with him in it. He talks a lot about the same things, like "don’t come home the same person you used to be,” and "let this mission change your life,” and "don’t you dare come home!" etc. But this week in his devotional, he added a part about Peter in John, Chapter 21. Jesus asks him three times if he loves him. Each time, Peter answers, "Yea, Lord, I love thee, thou knowest that I love thee." All three times, Jesus tells Peter to feed his sheep. After Christ’s death, Peter goes back to the only thing he knew before Jesus came—fishing. But Jesus didn’t want him to go back to what he used to do and what he used to be. He wanted him to change and feed his sheep. That is what we are doing here on our missions. We are feeding his sheep, and when we go home, we need to apply the things we’ve learned on our missions to our lives and never go back to the old habits we used to have and the old things we used to do.

I love what Emily said in her email and I feel the same way. It’s awesome here and so beautiful! We are blessed to be able to be in such a beautiful place learning Spanish, even though there are those moments of wishing we could be somewhere else.
I love you all so much and I’m praying for you all every day! Next time we “talk,” I’ll be in Bolivia!

Love you muchly!

Hermana Nelson
Some more pics . . .
Hermanas Nelson and Hymas

Playing a little joke on the Elders
Our Elders on our last visit to the Mexico City Temple


Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Mexico City CCM—Week 4

Distrito 8A FamiliaWe'll Cover the Globe!
¡Buenas tardes familia y amigos!

Hoy es mi una month aniversidad a la CCM. Español es muy dificil, pero soy aprendar mas y enseñar con el espiritu santo cual ayudarme mucho.

Wow. That was really bad Spanish (I think) but you said you wanted to hear some, so there you go! Translation: This is my one-month anniversary today at the CCM. Spanish is hard, but I am learning a lot and the spirit is helping me teach in Spanish a lot as well.

First off, Ellen, here are some more food combinations for ya! It hasn't been as exciting as usual. I think they're getting the hang of how Americans like their food, but here goes:

Hmm . . . they really like to make us what we call "soggy nachos." Basically they are tortilla chips soaked in enchilada sauce and topped with some goat cheese. We pretty much get these for every meal here. I've gotten used to them, but they are still a bit bizarre.

Also, they love putting just about everything in rice: corn, jalapenos, peas, hot dogs, etc. Everyone thinks I'm picky, but I really just think it's weird to put that kind of stuff in rice!

Wings and Calzones! Sunday was like the best meal ever! It smelled like McDonald’s all day, and lo and behold, they made us wings and calzones! It was probably the best meal ever. We wanted to get thirds, but they were running out, so we didn’t.

A huge thing happened this week at the CCM . . . they conformed and got maple syrup! Yep, and it’s legitreally good maple syrup. It’s been a good week! (I thought only the elders—especially Devan—got so excited about food . . . we’re learning a lot about our daughter!)

Food Challenges/Embarrassing Moments (Devan, you'd be so proud of me!)
Grape Challenge: So Hermana Page and I are weirdos and are always trying to compete, so she decided to see how many grapes she could fit in her mouth at once. Then, of course, I had to likewise do the same to beat her. At about grape number 13, Hermana Page told me I looked like the scary lady on Chicken Run and I lost itI lost all of the grapes all over the table, and, let's just say I hadn't used the baño recently, and I lost it a little down south as well. So yeah, we had to go back to our casa and change. It was eventful . . .

The Tower Challenge: Those of you missionaries who went to the Provo MTC may have heard of this before. Apparently it is against the rules there (according to Hermana Page, who used to work there) but they don't know about it here, so we decided to do it as a district. It was a good time, but next time, we will try to do it with Frosted Flakes or Cocoa Krispies because the Froot Loops ripped up our mouths. Hermana Page and I pulled the weight for the entire district and had 5 bowls each. Yep, that's your girl, Mom and Dad!
Elders Maw, Knowles, and Miller
Hermanas Nelson, Garrett, Page, and Avery
Hey, what happened to all the cereal?
We might have had something to do with it . . . 
My Family Loves Me and Sent Me a Package!
Thanks so much for the package! I am really enjoying the headbands—it's hard to come up with new cute hairstyles out here (even though I keep figuring out new ones for the other hermanas). 

Hermanas Nelson and Page
I seriously told my whole district about how much you guys love me just to make ‘em all jealous! I shared the muddy buddies with everyone and they all say thank you! I really couldn’t think of anything you forgot. I loved it all! I was especially excited about the fruit bars and the macadamia nuts! Hermana Avery was super appreciative for the beef jerky.

Oh, and U.S. stamps are okay here because we send our mail through pouch. I’m not sure if they will have pouch in Bolivia, but its cheaper and faster to send pouch here if I can. So those stamps should last me until I leave. Thanks! (A note for the missionary parents out there—I called the missionary department to find out why Amanda can send cards in envelopes through pouch. Apparently, pouch to our missionaries has to conform to their requirements: One page of paper with writing on one side, folded in thirds, and addressed to the missionary on the outside. It has to be closed with two pieces of tape on the long side and mailed with a U.S. postage stamp. Letters coming from our missionaries can be in envelopes and can contain more sheets of paper, photos, etc. The difference is with customs—they figure the missionaries won’t be sending money or valuables home.)

I want pictures of Kim and Brent’s baby! Please add pictures to Dropbox so I can see all the exciting things happening in your lives! (If you would like to upload pictures for Hermana Nelson, let me know and I’ll give you the login information.)

The last pictures are of this guy who works at the CCM gardens. Hermana Page and I think he looks like Mario from Super Mario Bros.! We tried stalking him to get a picture, but it didn’t really work.
There’s also a picture of Elder Cutler. He left yesterday, so I quickly got I picture with him.
Hermana Nelson and Elder Cutler
Oh, and that super awesome watch? Yep, it’s mine! La tienda (the store) has awesome random merchandise, and I got it for only about $10. Cool. It’s kinda awesome.
Leftover merchandise from the school?
Birthdays and Addresses
Please send me birthdays of friends and family and missionaries! I realize I need to send things far in advance, so please remind me of them all. I sent Logan a letter in the mail for his birthday, so it should be coming there soon.

Also, addresses of my missionary friends and other family members (including Grandpa and Grandma and Grandpa Nelson) would be grand. You can just add them to my contacts on MyLDSMail so I have them all in one place. Thanks!

Quito Stories for Elder Maw
Dad, Elder Maw is going to Quito, Ecuador, and I told him a little about your monkey and cucarachas (cockroaches), but he wants to hear other cool stories if you could send them.

So, this parasite has been going around the CCM (I don’t even think it’s possible for a parasite to go around), but everyone has been sick. I’ve been fine, but it’s making people crazy. Especially Hermana Garrett who got a cold this week and felt like she was going to die. Since she stayed home on Sunday and Monday, I was in a companionship with Hermanas Avery and Page.

This Sunday is Mexico's Independence Day and the city has been wild every night. We have decorations all over campus, and it's been kinda fun hearing all the Mexican music every night. We'll have "Mexican" night on Saturday, so I'll tell you all about it next week!
September 15thMexico Independence Day
Nacho Bikes
Grandma and Mom—you were wondering what the deal is with nacho bikes. In Nacho Libre (which we talk about and quote on a regular basis here), he rides a bike around that looks just like the yellow bikes around Mexico. They are everywhere, but we haven't been able to get a picture of one yet. When we saw the one at the temple, we had to take pictures. The flowers, Grandma, are just the flowers they were planting and that's their idea of a wheelbarrow to transport things around.

Elder Fiefia
What a totally sweet Elder he is. He is the one who gave me a blessing the second week, and this week he wrote all of the hermanas letters telling us how much he admired us. I’ll send a picture of mine next week. It was adorable.

Mormon Messages
So at night, we have TALL which is basically another language class and we learn Spanish on the computers for an hour. I’ve gotten really into the Mormon Messages and I love them! They are the best!

We had another awesome devotional from Elder Holland from January 2013 (it was so funny, I saw Michelle Bennion singing in the choir—it’s cool to see people I know in the videos). His devotional was a lot like his last one we watched and it was just as good as ever. He talked a lot about how your first convert needs to be yourself and how we are all setting great examples to our friends and family back home. I love hearing him speak.

Scripture Study
This week Hermana Avery asked us all to write down comfort scriptures for her to send to a friend. While going through my many favorite scriptures, I decided to start making lists of my favorites for each Gospel subject. It's been a cool study time.

Also, I've been reading the D&C and I absolutely love, love, love it! If anyone is wondering what to read, read it! It is all about missionary work and I can relate almost every verse to me and how I can become a better missionary and person!

Well, I think that's just about all for this week. Read your scriptures, say your prayers, and be sure to tell people you love them! It will make you a better person and it will show others that you care about them.

I love you all!


Hermana Nelson

Tuesday, September 3, 2013

Mexico City CCM—Week 3

Hello Family and Friends!

First Off . . .
Thanks, Grandma and Grandpa Cozzens for the letter this week! I was excited to hear about all the family news and things that are happening in everyone’s lives!

Scriptures to look up that I think are awesome!
1 Nephi 1—Pres. Pratt said this is one of the most commonly read and most commonly forgotten chapters—so go back and read it!
Mosiah 2:41
3 Nephi 12—The Beatitudes
Mosiah 28:1-9

I Dreamed a Dream . . . in Spanish!
Yep, I had my first dream in Spanish. It was mostly just like a regular day in the CCM trying to communicate with people, but yeah, I was trying to speak Spanish in the dream. I guess that’s progress?

The Best Day Ever
The "la tienda" (store) here has Jolly Ranchers that are square shaped! I will be sure to buy some and send them home as soon as I get to Bolivia. I was eating the pack this week and guess what?! There were only watermelon ones! Yep, God loves me.

A Letter!
So I was really not expecting to get anything in the mail—ever—since we email and mail takes so long to get here, but the other day I totally got a DearElder in our district mailbox! It was from Wes. It was a really funny letter and I sent him one right back, so he should be expecting a letter in the next week and a half!

I didn’t realize how much of a letter writer I was until I got here . . . I write letters constantly. I wrote you guys another one this week, but don’t get too excited because it isn’t much, but I am going to try to send one each week. I just finished writing letters to all of the elders in our district yesterday. I included that scripture you guys told me about in the Doctrine and Covenants and also the Beatitudes. I really just think that notes make peoples’ day! At least they make my day! I thought I had way too much stationery, but I may not have brought enough.

Rain, Rain Go Away (but really, don’t because it’s actually really nice)
It rains every day here at about dinnertime, and this week, it was insane! I don’t remember which day it was, but we were leaving dinner and there was a river running down the road. We decided it would be better to just take off our shoes and run. Our teacher didn’t have an umbrella, and I figured she needed it more than I did, so we all began to run as fast as we could to the classroom. Well, apparently Mexico’s paint is really slick (or maybe they just repainted a lot) but while crossing the crosswalk, Hermana Page, who was right in front of me, did a nice little dive into the river of water. She slipped and landed face down in the gutter! Yeah, we were all laughing so hard, then three other hermanas did the same thing right after her. One of them slipped three times. It was comical. but Hermana Page scraped up her knee real nice. It’s all good now. We had a good laugh about it.
We ALL Wanted Pictures on the Nacho Bike!
Companionship Inventory
We decided to do a double companionship inventory last night since it helps to have more personalities and opinions involved. Instead of talking about the things that bother us, we decided to talk about the things we like about each other . . .
Hermanas Avery, Nelson, Page, Garrett
Here is the list of things the hermanas said about me:
Funny, Smart, Thoughtful—writes a lot of notes
Not afraid to wet my pants when laughing (like I can control it!)
Will go to the bathroom at any time in case someone’s companion doesn’t want to (this is true—my bladder is always on call here)
The "weird" little sister of the bunch who never really knows what is going on (this one is not true—I just have hearing problems)
Always willing to do everyone’s hair multiple times a day (I really have rekindled my love for doing hair out here). Hermana Avery’s hair is extremely long and I keep coming up with new ways to put it up, and Hermana Page’s hair is short and it’s fun coming up with short styles as well. They all think I should do hair when I get home.

El Templo
We were able to go to the temple again today and it was really neat. It still seems a bit dramatic in Spanish, but it’s the House of the Lord and no matter which temple it is, you can feel the same love and comfort all around you.

Fellas in our District:
Elders Miller, Knowles, Evans, Williams, Maw, Bradshaw, Folland, Fiefia

Us Ladies at El Templo
Scripture Mastery Saves Lives
I am super glad I memorized the scripture mastery scriptures in Seminary and that I still remember most of them—we use them so much in our lessons! I heard that the Church came out with an updated list of scripture mastery scriptures.
When we got here the first week, they gave us really nice copies of the Spanish standard works with post-it tabs where the scripture mastery scriptures are and it has saved us in our lessons with our investigators. So—ya'll taking seminary (or should be taking seminary!)—memorize scripture mastery and find out ways to use them to share the Gospel. They are inspired and a great tool!

Elder Maw (Right) is in my District and is really good friends with Jordan Tanner!
We are teaching two investigators right now—one is named Lenina and one is named Jonaton. As usual, they aren’t real investigators, just profiles that our teachers have made of people they knew in their missions. But the lessons have been going well. We haven’t gotten very far because we only have 15 minutes to teach and most of the time we have to teach both of them about the importance of prayer because they don’t get it, but it’s been a cool experience and we have really been blessed with the gift of tongues in our lessons

El Don de Langues (the gift of tongues)
It’s a real thing! Seriously, though. I see its power every day when I remember words and phrases that I haven’t spoken since junior high and things just stick much better out here. This doesn’t mean ya'll can stop praying for me, though. I can feel your prayers every day helping me get my message across in the most inconvenient ways imaginable. When I can’t find the words, I just work my way around until it makes sense. But it’s coming, slowly, but surely.
24 Hour Fast
It was Fast Sunday this week, which means we didn’t have to write talks (which I was very happy about)! I decided to start my fast after lunch on Saturday and continue until dinner on Sunday. I was the only one in the district who decided to fast for a good 24 hours, but I figured this was the last time I’d be able to fast like this before I get out in the field where they make sure you are staying hydrated. I was a little bummed out when lunch came around and they made macaroni and cheese and had ice cream for dessert. It was very hard to resist, but I just kept thinking that I had better have some sweet blessings if I’m going to miss out on the ice cream!

The Book of Mormon reading has been going well. I’ve been translating the Spanish copy they gave us at the beginning of the week, and it’s taking forever but I am learning more and more every day. I also decided to buy a copy of the BOM in English at la tienda so I can mark up a new copy. I was really against this at the beginning, but after trying it out for a few chapters, I decided I am getting more out of my BOM reading now than I was before. I came up with a really cool way to mark it as well. I made a marking key at the front of the book and I’ve been using the YW value colors to mark phrases I like and color them based on the value colors. I’m really enjoying it, and I’m not very far but it gets my head thinking a little more. I have also been changing the names if they could pertain to me personally. For example, 1 Nephi 1:1 says, “I, Nephi, having been born of goodly parents . . . and I will write, “I, Amanda, having been . . .” So, if you are wanting to try something new, do this. It’s pretty cool.

Movie Night
On Sunday we had movie night and it was different than the usual movies we watch. I think it was called "A Rare Possession" and it is a really old movie. It started out a little different, but it got better toward the end. It was a story about an Italian minister who was a scholar of the Bible. He moved to New York to go to school and preach at the Italian branch there. One day he came upon a Book of Mormon, but it was very old and used. The title of the book was completely worn and the first few pages were ripped out so he didn’t know what the book was called or who wrote it. He restored the rest of the book since it was very dirty, and began reading. Soon, he started answering questions from his congregation using the book because the bible couldn’t answer their questions. He began using this book to teach the members of his church and got in trouble. He was told to either burn the book or be removed from the priesthood. He had taken Moroni’s challenge in Chapter 10—he had prayed about the book and he knew it was true, so he was removed from the priesthood. After returning to Italy, he researched the book and came up with the Mormons and BYU. He wrote a letter to the president of BYU and asked for missionaries to come to his house in Sicily to baptize him. He waited and waited and finally, 10 years before he died, he was baptized and was able to go to the Switzerland Temple. If you can find this movie, watch it. It was pretty interesting.

Being an Investigator
In one of our manuals, it asked us to write down a profile for someone we know who is inactive or not a member. I decided to write about someone I know because I feel like her story is different and she’s really one of the only inactive members I know much about. I just thought we were making profiles to talk about people we knew, but after writing their stories down, we shared them with the class and then picked one to practice with. Everyone had chosen people closer to their age and most of their lives weren’t too complicated. When I read mine, everyone wanted me to be the investigator. We took about an hour in class teaching the first lesson and it was one of the coolest experiences ever. Hermana Balderes (our teacher) asked me to pray and be in the mind-set of her and what her thoughts and feelings may be toward the church. Each person in the district drew a number for when they would be teaching with Hermana Balderes and then we started.

Hermana Balderes was the "senior companion" and the rest of the missionaries were the other companions since we don’t know as much Spanish. I was able to speak only English to respond to their questions in Spanish, and it was nice being able to express what I was feeling in English. When the first elder started, he asked me why I invited them to come over and I immediately thought about when we were at the Visitor’s Center and the sister missionaries asked us for a phone number of someone we knew that they could call. I used that to explain that the missionaries had called and that I was at a rough spot in my life and I decided to let them come over because it is what my mom would have wanted be to do. The spirit I felt was amazing in that lesson. I was able to act kind of how she would act and think how she probably thinks without really having a lot of background about her. I really felt like I was her when the missionaries were teaching and it was really special. At one point, when Hermana Page was teaching, I opened up to them a little and told them about my grandma passing away and how hard it was on me and the rest of the family. Hermana Page and I both broke down since her grandmother passed away recently as well. It was interesting putting myself in her shoes and feeling what she probably feels. I was really glad for the experience and so was the rest of the class. A lot of them came up afterwards and thanked me for sharing her story because there are a lot of people with similar situations and experiences that we’ll be teaching.

Please send awesome quotes when you email. I use them on the backs of letters and I am already running out of quotes. So please send concise, uplifting, awesome quotes every once in a while.

Please Write Me!
If you are a friend and are reading this, then you need to write me—okay? I like to hear lots about the outside world because we don’t get any of that out here. It’s a nice break to hear about dating, school, Utah, pretty much anything that doesn’t have to do with Spanish. Don’t get me wrong—we are having a real nice time here, but if you thought that Utah county was a bubble, just come over here and see how it is here! The teachers won’t even tell us about their spouses or girlfriends. So, please write! You’ll be glad ya did!

Love you all!
Until next week . . .

Hermana Nelson