Monday, November 18, 2013

Bolivia, Charcas—Week 8

My Wonderful Family and Friends,

I hope you are all having a beautiful week wherever you may be. Thanks for all your thoughts and prayers on my behalf, I can really feel them out here.

Christmas Package Arrived!
I got your Christmas package! Everyone thought it was a miracle, Mom. This is a true example of answered prayers! Customs opened it—and let’s just say they weren’t too careful. There was chocolate everywhere, so I hate to say it, but I guess no more chocolate in the mail. Boo hoo! The Costco bag of chocolate chips will be all right and most of it is still intact. Thanks so much for the package, family! It’s getting us excited for Christmas (or at least as excited as we can be without our families, or for me, snow, but it’s all right!).

Answering Questions/Comments
Thanks for sending letters to my companion and our zone leaders. Their families aren’t quite as cool as mine, and they haven’t gotten anything yet, so thanks for sharing the love.

Our ward is great. They are helpful (most of the time) with missionary work, but we are thinking of new ways to get them more involved. Our investigators are doing well. We've kinda hit a wall this week because a lot of them aren’t progressing, but we are figuring things out and hopefully they will start wanting to keep the commitments they’ve made.

We ask for references from the ward, but most of the time the ward members don’t want to share them with us or just don’t have any. We spend a lot of time knocking on doors. We sometimes find people this way, but it is difficult. We found a sister yesterday that has some promise, I think. She used to go to church with her family and remembers a little, but when we talked with her, she remembered the great feelings she had at church and wants to go back. So this Sunday we are going to bring her with us. She is 23 and is a single mom (like most women here), but I think she may be a really good potential investigator.

My Spanish is coming along. Everyone comments on how fast I am learning and every day I’m learning more and more. Hermana Soto is really great at teaching me, and in turn, I’m teaching her English. It’s actually really fun and gives us something to do while we’re walking in all parts of Bolivia.

I am supposed to play the piano, but sometimes they don’t pull it out of the closet and sometimes others play it. But when we don’t have someone, and we aren’t with investigators, yes, I play the piano.

Congrats Jeff on being Mayor again! So proud of you Jefe!! ;)

Congrats Aersta! Yay! More babies! (Logan and Nolls: I expect one or at least an announcement of one soon or before I get home;)

I’m so glad everyone else is doing well. I miss you all tons, but time is going fast here and I need to work my hardest for the people. I’m still praying for you all every day.

Honestly, my entire life I never thought I had talents. It says in my patriarchal blessing that if I take the blessings I’ve been given and exercise them, I will be able to receive more. I’ve just never felt like I had a single one. But these past weeks I’ve been recognizing them more and more. Although I can’t play the piano like John Schmidt, and I don’t sing like Hannah Montana (ew gross... ;) I have recognized that I have a talent for helping and caring for people. I also have a talent for baking. And mom, I think I need to thank you for helping me develop these talents. You always taught me that service is the most important thing. And you taught and reinforced my love for baking. It’s amazing what a little service or baking cookies for people can do out here. It opens so many doors that we otherwise may not have been able to open. I am so thankful for the examples of so many who truly share their talents. I know that by sharing mine, I am able to receive more and more.
Cookies for the Baptism
Family Home Evening
We had a great FHE with Eduardo and his family this past Wednesday. We made pizza and watched the last half of The Testaments. We had a short testimony meeting afterwards and they all expressed their love and gratitude for us coming to their home and bringing the Spirit. Brother J. (Eduardo’s dad) said he wants us present at every FHE with their family. We had to explain that we can’t be present forever because there are transfers often, but that we told them we would try our best. Sister J. bore her testimony of the Book of Mormon and expressed how grateful she is for our patience and love. She still has questions of course, but she truly wants to know that the Church is true. She gave the closing prayer, and asked our Father in Heaven to permit the missionaries to always be present in their family. Afterwards she told us that with other missionaries in the past she only wanted two or three visits and then no more. But she said she wants us to come every day because she feels the Spirit when we come. Oh, how I love this family! They have taught me so much and I have felt the Spirit so strongly with them. My testimony has truly grown every time I leave their home. What a wonderful family!

Baptism for Alejandro and Fernando
Well, after a few weeks of waiting, we were finally able to hold the baptism for Alej and Fernd. Not many members came, so we had to call the Elders at the last minute to be the witnesses, but their family was able to come and it was really beautiful! The boys got up and bore their testimonies. They didn’t really know how to bear a testimony, so I just told them to tell us what they felt like. They said, “cold” and that it “felt like a lifetime.” Alejandro said he is really grateful for us for teaching them and helping them get to this point. What a great day! I felt even more for these boys because, with our other baptisms, they hadn’t felt like they had any sins, but with Ferns, afterwards he said he felt so free and clean and that he’s going to try his very hardest to stay that way. What a testimony builder of baptism and the cleansing effect it has. I just want to baptize all of Bolivia!
Baptism for Alejandro and Fernando
Christmas is Coming!
As you can see in the picture, we are really excited for Christmas—or at least a little excited to open our gifts. We made a tree and hung our stockings and are listening to Christmas music every day. Yes, I know, Dad, “it isn’t even Thanksgiving yet,” but they don’t celebrate Thanksgiving here, so on to Christmas! (Randy tries hard to enforce his policy that we enjoy Thanksgiving before we start celebrating Christmas—a hot debate between him and the girls every year. I actually think they just enjoy bugging him! Preparing for Christmas piano recitals usually gives them a pretty good excuse to start in October.)
Christmas Gifts Under Our "Tree"
I’ve been reading the Liahona from General Conference (Nov. 2012). It’s the one where President Monson made the new age announcement and there are many great quotes in it that I wanted to share.

"I’m a Mormon. I know it. I live it. I love it." Ann M. Dibb

"The decision to serve a mission will shape the spiritual destiny of the missionary, his or her spouse, and their posterity for generations to come." Elder Russell M. Nelson

"It’s not a race, it’s a journey, enjoy the moment." President Dieter F. Uchtdorf

"Follow the Savior and work with diligence to become the person you were designed to become." President Dieter F. Uchtdorf

"Act and Live consistently in what you believe." M. Russell Ballard
Love you all so much!

Thanks again for all!


Hermana Nelson

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