Monday, October 28, 2013

Bolivia, Charcas—Week 5

Eduardo's Baptism
Family and Friends,

Ah, what a great week!
Letters Received!
This week I got Alyssa's Halloween letter, one from the Payne family, one from Grandma and Grandpa, one from Mom (pouch), and one from Dad. It was like Christmas! My whole zone was super jealous (haha).
Yes, Eduardo’s dad came to the baptism, and afterwards he told us he really could feel the spirit. I hope it touched and softened his heart a little. His mom is not a member and is hesitant, but she is taking the lessons with us, so hopefully something will come of it. Eduardo is excited because he can receive the priesthood soon and if his mom is ready, he can baptize her. She is preparing, though, and is planning to get married in December which I think is because she really wants to be baptized.
I’m glad Logan and Nolls made it back to Utah safely! Tell them congrats. Where are they moving to? Draper? Oh, and give Sokka and Xela big hugs for me. I miss being able to play with dogs.
Yes, we have RS, but the teachers teach pretty much whatever they want and skip the hard lessons. I only have the manual in Spanish, so yeah, quotes in English would be the bomb!
Your 3 Ls (language, lessons, love): The first two are the hardest. Loving the people isn’t hard for me. I’ve never cared or loved people so much in my entire life. It’s going to be hard to say goodbye when I have to. Hopefully I’ll stay here for a while though.
Tell Bob & RobbiAnn that I’m doing great and thanks for asking. Yeah, this part of town is really nice and our apartment doesn’t have many big bugs—just ants, but those aren’t a problem. And no, I haven’t been too sick yet, just adjusting to the food is hard.
We make breakfast and dinner ourselves, but the Bishop’s wife makes us lunch every day. We either eat at their house or she brings it to us. She’s a pretty good cook, but we eat a lot of chicken and rice.
Laundry is done by us and the Stake President’s wife. She has a washing machine, so she washes our outer clothing and we wash the rest.
Okay, now on to my week.
The baptism was great! Lots of family and friends of Eduardo came, along with members of the ward and some of our other investigators. It was really special. And quick story . . . I was reading my patriarchal blessing and it says that I am blessed with talents and that I need to share them. So I played the piano at the baptism and sang the special musical number because Eduardo wanted me to. I was really nervous and hadn’t even practiced the piano or anything, but everyone commented on how beautiful it was and it really made me feel great. I know the Lord is always helping me along!
If things go as planned, we will have two more baptisms this weekend and two more next week. It’s great, great, great!
Eduardo's Family
Family Home Evening with the Calderon Family
Making Sugar Cookies for Eduardo's Baptism
More Recipes
Mom, please send more recipes. Everyone here loves them. Maybe bread/rolls, pizza, no bakes, chocolate cake, coconut bread, and banana bread. Thanks!
Making Empanadas with Eduardo's Family

I’ve been reading a lot of Conference and other talks because I found some (English) Ensigns and Liahonas in the apartment. It was like Christmas because I don’t have anything else to read in English. I’ve been reading the May 2012 Conference issue and there are so many great talks. One called, “Was it Worth it?” by Elder David F. Evans is really great about missionary work and sharing the gospel in a natural and normal way. Then I read the talks from the Young Womens broadcast and the talk by Elaine S. Dalton is awesome! Lyssy, read this in your spare time—it’s a great reminder.

The internet just shut down again and I only have time to quickly say goodbye. Sorry I couldn’t write more, but I’ll try snapping a picture of what I wanted to write.

Love you very, very much!
(Look for something special in the mail)
Love you all!
xoxo Hermana Nelson

Monday, October 21, 2013

Bolivia, Charcas—Week 4

Family and Friends!

Yes, I have eaten some weird food. Last night we had dinner at a member’s home and they had me try something. I couldn’t tell what it was, but after asking a few times, they said it was chicken stomach. Kinda gross. When we were finishing up, there were two pieces of chicken left in the bowl and the dad said that I should have one and he would have one because they are the best parts. Yep, chicken necks! Wahoo! I didn’t want to be rude, so I ate it—all. Gross.

Eduardo is our first baptism this weekend! I also included a picture with his family (below). The cement drying was a service project for Eduardo’s dad. We helped him build a pathway and now he listens to our lessons! He is a member, but not active. We are miracle workers, though, and are teaching him lots.

Eduardo’s baptism is this Saturday and we are all so happy for him! He is learning everything so quickly and is very excited. This will also be Hermana Suxo's first baptism, so we are both very excited as well!
Eduardo and Family
Lucy is our next door neighbor and also our landlord. She is a member (she was baptized when she was 18) and was going to serve a mission, but then got married and is now less active. She really wants her boys to learn about the church, so we have been teaching them. They invited their friends one time as well, and it was a weird lesson. One of the boys literally stared at me throughout the whole lesson and was taking pictures of me on his phone. The others just goofed off and we couldn’t get them to listen. The boys are all 14-16 years old and very immature, but the Lucy’s kids are beginning to enjoy our lessons.

Please pray for the Fernandes family. They are having some struggles as a family and need your prayers. The boys really want to be baptized, but aren’t quite ready.

Some Little Things
The other day we were walking past a house and I saw two Siamese cats that literally looked the same as Lilo and Stitch, and to make things even funnier, they were lounging on the cement licking each other like Lilo and Stitch always did! Ahh . . . I thought of Lyss, but I couldn’t get a picture. Sorry!
Fighting Lizardspeople freak out like they're snakes
Read Alma 5. I was reading this for my personal study one day and it is an amazing chapter. It’s Alma preaching the gospel and bearing his testimony as well. It was a very good reminder of why I am out here and the affect I can have on the people as well.

Thank you!
Thanks for all of your support and prayers! This is one of the hardest things I’ve ever done, but I know I have a whole team of support back home—and in all other places of the world. Thanks for all of your examples. My testimony of eternal families has been immensely strengthened this week since we have been teaching a lot about the plan of salvation. I am so grateful for that knowledge and the opportunity that I have to be with my amazing family for eternity. I’m here for these families, which are a part of my family as well, and I want them all to be able to return to live with our Father in Heaven again.

The work is great. I’m learning a lot and becoming a better person. Don’t stop praying and reading your scriptures. Continue to be an example to friends and family—they need you all at this time.

Loves sent from Bolivia!
Hermana Nelson

Pancakes . . .
. . . just like we make at home!
(Logan sent a pix of a snowman pancake from Guatemala)

Monday, October 14, 2013

Bolivia, Charcas—Week 3

My muchly loved and muchly missed Nelson Clan, other Family, and Friends!

Thank You!
Thanks for your prayers and everything else on my behalf—and for the letters. I don't have much time to read and write emails, but I love reading letters from home, so keep ‘em coming!

This week was a bit harder—a lot of my companion telling me what to do and a lot of frustration. She is great, don't get me wrong, but at times I get frustrated when I can't talk to her about my feelings. But it's all going to be okay. I just need to trust in the Lord a little more.

There was a fire next door to our house early Tuesday morning. We were all fast asleep and then our landlord/neighbor pounded on the door to wake us up. It was really sad—the family lost everything, but the government is going to help them out. The next day we got to sleep and rest a bit for the morning since we didn't get any sleep the night before.

We've had much success finding people to teach. It seems that everywhere we go, there is someone willing to listen. It is difficult, though, because a lot of our investigators are not wanting to listen anymore and don't answer their doors. Hopefully next week will be better!

Stake Conference
We had Stake Conference, but I didn't understand much. Then, later in the day, we had a mission-wide conference. It was great being able to see everyone again—especially Elder Evans! He's doing really well, and it was a relief to see him.

Read Alma 17. It's all about missionary work and how the sons of Mosiah were the greatest missionaries! They prayed and fasted all the time, and although they had many afflictions, they were blessed exceedingly.

Our investigators are great. Eduardo is learning lots and is getting more and more excited about baptism. Yay! Also, we received a reference and halfway through the first lesson he asked, "So, when is my baptism?" Yep! We have another baptismal date set (that makes 6 and counting). Yay for missionary work!

Things are about the same here. I'm doing just fine, so don't worry about me! Thanks for your support and prayers on my behalf! I know that you are the reason I'm still out here doing what I need to be doing.

Keep up the temple attendance and scripture reading! It is a blessing in many lives! Sorry I couldn't write more, but the computers are very slow and the internet keeps shutting down. Hopefully I'll be able to write more next week!


XOXO Hna Nelson (Manda) 

Monday, October 7, 2013

Bolivia, Charcas—Week 2

Welcome to Bolivia!
It is a lot like Mexico or any other country you can imagine—dirty, trash everywhere. I tried picking up the trash on the street, but it’s a lost cause. No one cares about putting things in the trash cans which are just metal baskets with big gaps.

Hot, humid, very windy, and I guess it’s the rainy season, even though it has only rained one day so far.
People are always on the streets because it’s so hot, and that is when we get the cat calls out the wazoo. It’s very uncomfortable at times, but I’m learning to ignore it.
We ride the bus most days, sometimes we use a taxi if we are late, and we walk a lot! The busses are sketch. Sometimes there are so many people that I think they are going to tip over.
No traffic laws. I’ve never seen a speed limit sign. People drive however they would like to and there are  no consequences.
Our House . . .
. . . is huge! All of the houses here are the same—lots of rooms that aren’t connected with a roof over head, and a great big gate around it.
Our house is pretty nice and costs 3,000 bolivianos. I don’t know what that is in dollars, but I think it's pretty expensive. (I looked it up—it’s $434).

Cats and Dogs . . .
. . . are everywhere, Lyss! And pretty much every sort and kind of dog and cat—all sorts of mixes and stuff—it’s kind of weird. You couldn’t throw a dead cat without hitting a dog, Dad and Bishop Madsen.
Lion Dog
Bolivian Spanish—This isn’t what they taught me in the MTC!I
It’s pretty normal, except for the fact that we are in Santa Cruz. Apparently, the Spanish here is "dirty" because they cut out all “s” sounds in their vocabulary. For example, "hata manana" or "adio.” It’s difficult to understand when they speak a million miles a minute on top of it all!
Knocking Doors
We knock doors whenever an appointment falls through (which seems to be a lot of the time). We only invite people to church, and Hermana Suxo said it isn’t effective, but we do it anyway. I’m kind of confused all the time about what/why we do things, but I trust that she kind of knows what she is doing.
"The Yellow Ones Don’t Stop!" (yes, she's quoting "Elf")
Actually, all of the cars don’t stop or even slow down for pedestrians, so we wait until we know it is 100% safe to cross the street.
Yes, Danny Glover (her friend—not the actor) would love this country mucho. All types and colors of trackers everywhere and they are always on the roads.
A much-needed break, and better yet, it was in English! We asked the Stake President if he could put it on in English for us, so we got our own room. It was fabulous and it ended too quickly. I loved that it was all about member missionary work, which is really important in the branches and wards right now—especially in Bolivia where we mostly need references.
Hermana Suxo
She is basically the definition of Christ-like attributes. She makes me breakfast, is patient, teaches me Spanish, etc. There are the cultural differences, but for the most part, we get along just great.
One of our investigators. He’s almost done with the lessons and has a baptismal date, but needs to attend church first. His father is a member and when the last missionaries were going to visit his father and try to reactivate him, he asked them to leave, but Eduardo asked them to stay and teach him. He is amazing and will be a great member of the church.
I wish I had time to write about more people, but I will next week. Oh, but real quick, I was able to teach a whole lesson in English the other day! One of our investigators speaks English better than Spanish, so Hermana Suxo let me teach in English. It was way different, but it was awesome to find out what I know in English and reaffirm my testimony in English.
Although the mosquitoes are eating me alive, I never really know what’s going on, I’m always dirty and sweaty, no one speaks English, I don’t ever feel like I get enough food, and I don’t have any time to myself . . . my Spanish is improving, I’m able to carry on a somewhat normal conversation, and I haven’t gotten sick yet (knock on wood). So, I think I’m going to be just fine here. Prayers work, and God listens.
Love you all!
Until next week,
Hermana Nelson