Monday, November 25, 2013

Bolivia, Charcas—Week 9

Family and Friends,

I hope you all had a great week and I hope you all have a great Thanksgiving!

Giving Thanks
We just got the other Christmas package and the package from Beccs! Thank you! We’re really excited to go home and open them! And as you saw in the picture, we haven’t touched a thing from the first package. We are, however, going to share the chocolate chips with a few families that want to learn to make cookies so we don’t eat all of them and gain even more weight.

They don’t celebrate Thanksgiving here . . . bummer. I tried asking about turkey, and no one knows what I’m talking about. Everything is chicken here, and nothing else too fancy. I’m not worried about it. Maybe we’ll splurge and buy a Twix or Snickers as our dessert for this day!

Answering Questions/Comments
I love getting letters, but as I said before, I don’t have a lot of time to respond. I wish I had time to write everyone thank-you notes (because I really want to), but I just don’t have time anymore.

The Zambranos are very happy all the time! Hermana Soto and I are in the same area and hopefully it stays this way for a long time. We love it! It is one of the most difficult areas, but we are loving it to pieces!

They don’t have real clothing stores here, but Hermana Soto needed to find new skirts because we’ve been gaining weight (oops), so we did a little shopping by the market close to our house. All of the markets are like DI or Savers—clothing that Americans didn’t want and so it is shipped here. I only bought the dress and another skirt because they were so cheap! The dress was $15 and the skirt was $10 (under $4 in American dollars), so yeah, I "splurged" and bought them.
The shoes are holding up great. My Chacos did break (only the strap) but I got out my sewing kit and they are as good as new. I actually just sent a pic of my Chaco-tan—and let’s just say it bypasses Kelsey’s by miles! (hehe) Love you Kels!

The other day we helped Hermana Carol (our Bishop’s wife) pick fruit off her ocoro tree. You’ll have to look it up to get a better look, but it’s a yellow, kind of spikey fruit that only grows in Santa Cruz. It’s amazing to see all of the different kinds of fruit here that aren’t in the U.S.
Zone Conference
Today was a fun day. We got write to our families a little earlier, then we took a bus to Montero—an area about an hour away. We met with four different zones and played football, soccer, and volleyball. There was a ton of missionaries! It was nice to see all of the missionaries that came in our group (minus the sisters—there aren’t any in any of these zones).
We spent all day there, visiting with Hermana Zambrano a bit, eating lunch, and visiting with everyone. I got pretty fried because I forgot my sunscreen (as did every other North American!). We had a few classes about rules and working with the wards and branches, then President Zambrano gave a really great lesson on Christ’s mission and atonement. He explained how it was completely out of love and humility that He volunteered to come to earth and atone for our sins. It was a wonderful class and we were able to find many different scriptures about His life and atonement.

After the last classes, we had lunch. And guess what we ate? If you’re thinking rice and chicken (like we eat every day), you would be dead wrong. They bought us BURGER KING! Best. Day. Ever. I could’ve gone for seconds, but let’s just say that my skirts are getting a bit snug from all of the rice we eat.

Probably the greatest news of all is that President Zambrano talked about calling our families for Christmas. He said we could talk for one hour and that we could Skype! So, all we have to do now is find members with Skype. We can also call on the Christmas Eve to let you know what time we’ll be calling and such, so keep your phones on!

We’ve taught Eduardo (another Eduardo) just about every Monday night since I arrived. He is very intelligent and has a lot of time to research everything. He’s a great investigator because he really wants to learn. He asks many questions I’ve never even thought about in my life, but it’s great because we are learning lots.

We were really excited on Wednesday because we had actual appointments every hour (which doesn’t happen too often) and we had members commit to come with us (which never happens). Then what happened? Yeah, the members came to help (yea!), but all of our investigators cancelled. Welcome to the life of a missionary.

Positive Tyler
I took a picture of an email from my friend Tyler (Christiansen) and he’s always so positive, so I think I’ll try that out today . . .

Today we had District Meeting! It was fantastic! We watched a movie about the atonement and how it applies to missionary work. Elder Holland explained that missionary work is hard because it is the same mission as the Savior’s (more or less) and that it wasn’t meant to be easy. It wasn’t easy for Him and it won’t be easy for us missionaries. He says that when we are at our lowest points in the mission, we need to remember the Savior and that he knows exactly what we are going through.

Then we had practices! Yay! It’s so much fun being embarrassed in front of all the missionaries because you don’t speak the language very well! (hehe)

Liahona Minute
This is going to be the new title for this section of my emails because I always find at least one talk from Conference that I have to share because they are so good.

Today’s is from the November 2012 issue of the Ensign (or Liahona). The talk is from the Sunday Morning session, by Elder Jeffrey R. Holland. I remember this talk vividly and if you have time, watch the video of his talk—it’s much better than just simply reading it.

Elder Holland begins by explaining the circumstances the 11 apostles were in after the crucifixion of the Savior. He goes on to say that these disciples were only in office for a short three years, and when the Savior was no longer with them, they didn’t know what else to do except for what they knew efore their ministry with Jesus. They knew how to fish.

He tells the story in John 21 when the apostles are fishing and don’t catch a thing. Then Jesus appears and tells them to cast their nets on the right side.

Elder Holland describes the love that Peter, his Sr. Apostle, had for the Savior. When he saw Him, he ran to be in his presence. Then the Savior asks him a very important and thought-provoking question: “Do you love me more than you love all this?”

Peter answers, “Yea, Lord, thou knowest that I love thee.” Then the Savior asks again and the answer from Peter is the same. Finally, a third time, Jesus asks, “Peter, do you love me?” And again, answers Peter, “Lord . . . thou knowest that I love thee.”

Elder Holland adds some non-scriptural commentary that is very powerful. I’m not going to write all of it because I want you to look up the talk, but the part I love the most says:

“ . . . If I want fish, I can get fish. What I need, Peter, are disciples—and I need them forever . . . 

“I need someone to preach my gospel and to defend my faith.”

“I need someone who loves me—truly, truly loves me, and loves what our Father in Heaven has commissioned me to do . . . 

“ . . . I am asking you to leave all this and to go teach and testify, labor and serve loyally, until the day in which they will do to you exactly what they did to me.”

This is why I am here in Bolivia. This is what we are all called to do. Whether full-time missionaries, or members sharing the Gospel with friends, neighbors, and family, this is our calling until He comes. Work your hardest, share your testimony with everyone—especially your family and friends. 
Preach My Gospel!
Please keep Lourdes, Babi, Lola, Mariana, and Ana in your prayers. I love you all so, so, so much! Thanks for everything and I will talk to you all next week! Don’t forget your prayers and scripture study every day.


Hermana Nelson

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