Monday, January 27, 2014

Bolivia, Charcas—Week 18

Hermana Smith and Hermana Nelson
Dearest Family and Friends,

So this week’s news is going to be a bit of a bummer because my companion and I couldn’t work four of the days this week because ‘we had an illness’ (that was for you, Kels) called Dengue (dang-ae). It’s really awful. Our symptoms: headache, stomachache, and aches in every other bone and muscle of the body, fever, and occasional diarrhea. Yeah, it’s fantabulous! On the upside, I got to see lots of missionary friends in the hospital (booya grandma!). (See journal page below for more dengue detail.)

Also, we are in the internet and someone is a huge Taylor Swift fan so they’re playing her song "22" on loop. Extra blessings come in unexpected ways. God loves us.

Letters Received
Logo and Nolls, thanks bunches!
One from the Anderson’s train ride

Transfers are this week and everyone thinks I’ll be changing areas. I’m really hoping and praying not, but if so, that’s alright. I’ve learned a lot here in Charcas and I’ll be ready to have new experiences somewhere else. I’ll keep ya'll posted next week.

CONGRATULATIONS on being in the top 100 outstanding women in Utah! Grandma said, "She’s actually number one . . . but only because the list is in alphabetical order!" Good job marrying Jeff. Great plannin’ on your part!

Keep up with the photography–then you can take my wedding pictures one day!

Liahona Minute
I read a conference talk during my personal study today that was really amazing and I want everyone to look it up and read it. It’s from the November 2012 General Conference by Elder Bednar, Testimony and Conversion. I loved what he said. He says that all of us are converts, and we need more than just a testimony in order to be shielded from the world. We need to constantly be working up to becoming truly converted to the gospel of Jesus Christ using five steps that he outlines in his message. Really, though, please read it! It will help you through your challenges and questions in life, and will bring blessings to your families.

Well, like I said, we weren't able to do much this week except groan in our sick beds and go to the hospital, so there’s not much more to write about. I love you all and I pray that you will have a fantastic week!


Hermana Nelson

January 20 (P-Day)
After writing the fam, we left to play soccer at the church with our zone. It was fun and embarrassing and tiring all at the same time. Then we ate pizza, and left to shop for the week, sleep and relax until
p-day was officially over.

P-DaySoccer and Pizza
Maria (less-active member)
We decided to stop by Ricardo’s house to talk with him, but only Maria was there. We said we’d stop by another day, and before leaving asked if there was anything we could do to help her. She almost began to cry and said she needed to tell us something. She told us that she had committed a serious sin 2 days before and hasn’t told anyone except her mom. We tried the best we could to comfort her and read some scriptures about the repentance process. She seemed very, very sad about it and I hope we can help her realize that she can always repent and come back. I’m happy we have the knowledge of the atonement.

January 21
Lights Out/Apostasy?
During the night, there was a rainstorm and my fan and all of our lights went out. We thought it was happening to all of the houses, so we didn’t worry about it. Then tonight, it still hadn’t come on, so we called Lucy. Her husband told us it was just the breaker (oops!). But, yeah, we have light again, so that’s good.

Door Contact
We knocked on her door the other day and she said she’d like to hear our message another day. We went back later and her son said, "She says she’s sleeping." We went back another day and the girl that was there said, "She said she left the house." Then today, her grandson came to the door and said she wasn’t there (even though we could see her in the family room). Sometimes I wonder if they think we are stupid!

On Tuesday night, Hermana Smith and I couldn’t sleep because our stomachs hurt so bad. The next morning, we called Hermana Zambrano and she told us to go straight to the clinic.

I swore I wouldn’t ever go there, but I felt so sick that I though I might as well hear what they had to say. They had two different doctors on call, so Hermana Smith and I got different opinions even though we had exactly the same symptoms. Her doctor just took some blood and a urine sample to see if she had dengue, which is an illness from mosuqitos. My doctor was a little bit strange and I don’t think he knew what he was doing. He ordered the same tests, but on top of that, an x-ray and an ultrasound of my abdomen. Then they stuck an IV in my arm for 3 hours. To top it all off, our results came back saying we didn’t have anything. We just went home and died. We slept until Friday morning, but we hurt so bad that we went to the hospital. They did the blood and urine tests again and they said we had dengue. Now we are just waiting until we feel like we can get out of bed again. At least we’re both sick and can be miserable together.
The aftermath of the IV that was
in my arm for three hoursthanks, Doc!
My ultrasoundIf you look real close, you can almost see a face.
The doctors thought I was pregnant, and the Elders found the face
and concluded that they were right.
President Zambrano said that 9 out of 10 people in Santa Cruz have dengue and we have 25 missionaries right now with it as well.

Hermana Quezada has been so sweet and has been bringing us breakfast and lunch and coming to check on us all the time. The Elders didn’t believe that we were sick an kept calling us to "check up" on us, even though they would just laugh on the phone. What bums! :)

We are bummed because we couldn’t do much of anything this week, but next week will be much better!

Cherimoyaa weird fruit that is very delicious!

Monday, January 20, 2014

Bolivia, Charcas—Week 17

My beloved Family and Friends,
How is everyone? I hope all is well and that you are all having a great Martin Luther King Jr. Day!
This week was great! And today is even better because we are practically the only people in the internet cafe, so the internet is fast!

The week started out pretty normal, and then on Tuesday, Samanta (one of our investigators) told us she wanted to be baptized this week instead of next week. We talked to the Elders, they gave her an interview, and we made plans for her baptism on Saturday. Samanta is really great. She is 13 years old, and has grown up in the church her entire life. She had originally told us she didn’t want to take the lessons because they are boring, but we promised her that we would make them more fun. During our first lesson with her, she told us she wouldn’t be getting baptized until she turns 18 and is able to make a good decision about whether she wants the church as a part of her life or not. Then, very recently, she told us that she wanted to get baptized before February. And the rest is history. She was baptized by her brother on Saturday and confirmed on Sunday by her brother as well. She is going to do some great things and I’m really glad we had the opportunity to baptize her (see my journal pages for details).

Other than that, our week was pretty normal. We are finally laughing again, so that’s good news. I have really loved being companions with Hermana Smith. I feel the Spirit so strongly when we are teaching lessons, and I feel like myself again with her. We are having great success and loving it here!
I hope you all have a great week and never forget who gave you your life and who is always right by your side waiting for you to follow Him.
I love you all so, so much!
Hermana Nelson

Journal Pages
January 16, 2014
We had the most beautiful lesson with Samanta today. The Elders wanted us to make sure she had a testimony before she was baptized, so we prayed a lot to know what to teach. We decided to plan lesson 1, but if we felt any sort of prompting, to follow it. We began with God is our loving Heavenly Father, and talked with her about her relationship with Him. We talked about prayer and how she feels when she prays. We then both felt like we needed to sing a song—“A Child’s Prayer” (in English). She speaks English, so we sang this one with parts and everything. The Spirit was so strong and afterward we each (including Samanta) bore our testimonies. She has a testimony. I’m really excited for her baptism. Her favorite church song is “My Heavenly Father Loves Me” (in English), so we’ve been practicing it so we can sing at her baptism.
I love it here. I’m so happy!
January 18, 2014
Bautismo de Samanta & Happy Birthday Daddy!
Today was so very special! We went to the chapel and started the baptism. Samanta didn’t want to invite others besides her family, two best friends, us, and the Elders, so it was small and simple, but beautiful. Her siblings sang “Come Thou Fount” in Spanish, then her brother baptized her. She began crying in the water and gave her brother a huge hug. We then sang the special song we put together for her and I could barely get through it I was crying so much.
Afterwards, they invited us over for dinner and her dad told me a really cool story. He said that the first Sunday I was here and bore my testimony, he turned to his wife and told her, “That missionary is going to baptize Samanta.” I thought that was pretty cool, especially since we didn’t think she would get baptized. I feel like I am truly meant to be here. ¡Soy Feliz!
Hermana Nelson

Monday, January 13, 2014

Bolivia, Charcas—Week 16

Dearest Family and Friends,

Our usual internet place was closed today and we are in a new place which is about ten times slower, so I won’t be able to write too much or upload journal pages or pictures. I’ll try to upload some next week.
I am loving my new companion, Hermana Smith. She’s from St. George, and is awesome! We are having a good time teaching and having fun with people. And yes, we are speaking English at times as well (just so we don’t forget it before we come home).
I hope you all had a great week and are continuing to do the things you need to be doing. Thanks for all of the prayers and love you send my way. I can really feel it all.
Our new investigators, Ruti and Silvestre, are progressing and are very close to baptism. The date we have planned is January 25th, so hopefully they will be prepared by then. They are a really strong, great couple, and will make great members one day.

We had a really great lesson yesterday with the Bravo family about life-long goals. We talked about how we need to set life-long goals so we can work up to them during the craziness of life. I challenge all of you to think hard about what you really want for your life and how you want it to turn out, then write down your goals and set small goals to help you accomplish them.

Hopefully I’ll be able to write more next week, but until then, take care and never forget that I love you all!
Love you all! Take care!
xoxo Hermana Nelson

Monday, January 6, 2014

Bolivia, Charcas—Week 15

Hello Family and Friends!

Wow, so a little surprise. Last night the Elders called and I thought it was just to tell us that we had an activity, but nope, they said there was going to be an emergency transfer. Hermana Soto is going to another ward in the stake (Los Angeles), and Hermana Smith will be my new companion! I knew Hermana Smith in the MTC and she is from Utah as well! I was pleasantly surprised, because usually they don’t put two new North Americans together, but yeah, President must have a lot of confidence in us. It’s going to be difficult without a sure Spanish speaker, but it will be a good learning experience. I’m excited.

Harry Potter Scripture
This is for anyone who likes Harry Potter. I have a new goal to read the standard works (Bible, BoM, D&C, PoGP) this year, and I only need to read 5 chapters a day, (and I’m reading more), so hopefully I’ll finish before the year is up. I started reading Genesis and found something interesting—Genesis 30:14. I was pretty excited.

Love you all! Happy New Year! Be sure to make reachable goals for this new year. Whether they are big or small, continue to work at them and, whether or not you accomplish them in the time period you want, keep trying! There is always room for improvement.

Love you!


Hermana Nelson

Journal Pages
December 31, 2013
New Year’s Eve
What an Eventful Day it Was—Picolo Ice Cream
After lunch, we got permission to leave the area and eat ice cream with Lucy and her family. The ice cream was fine, but the quantity was ginormous! I got one of the smaller ones and even that was hard to finish. And, to top it all off, the family bought us two very large pieces of chocolate cake to take home for later. We are spoiled rotten!

El Rio (the River) of Santa Cruz
After ice cream, Lucy wanted to show us the only river in Santa Cruz. There hasn’t been much rain this year, so it was all dried up, but the area surrounding it was really pretty. It made me laugh at how excited Lucy was about it. She said she’d never been outside of Bolivia, so this is the only body of water she knows and she loves it so much (maybe it’s like us in Utah and Lake Powell).

Preparing New Year’s Eve Dinner
We began preparing dinner with Hermana Carol and man was there a lot of food! She bought a pig, sausage, a duck, and a chicken. We also made two kinds of rice and six different salads. We were only planning on 10 people, so I’m not sure why we made so much, but it was fun helping out in the kitchen. Then she remembered that she hadn’t bought anything for dessert and I remembered I had the brownie mix in the house, so we left to go get it . . .

Not so Pleasant Surprise in the Kitchen
Hermana Soto and I ran to the house and she waited outside while I ran into the kitchen to grab the mix. When I turned on the light, I saw something big and black move under our table. I first thought it was a bat, and screamed really loud.  Hermana Soto came running in and a huge rat ran out of the table and behind the fridge. We were both screaming so loud that I’m sure all of Santa Cruz heard us. We ran outside and I called the bishop. He didn’t answer, so I called Hermana Carol and I said, “Hay un raton en nuestra casa!” (there’s a rat in our house!). She sent the bishop with her son and Diego (our neighbor) panicking, asked how a “ladron” (robber) got into the house. We explained through tears that it was a rat and to hurry and kill it. They shut the door to the kitchen and moved the fridge. Then we just saw a lot of stomping and running around through the window. Finally, the bishop “stomped” it dead and they disposed of it outside. The bishop thought it was funny that we were so scared of a “little” rat (which was huge, by the way!) and told us that next time we need to speak more clearly on the phone. It was a fun little surprise for New Year’s Eve . . . not!

Dinner and Fireworks
We had dinner with the bishop and his family, and our neighbors, the Bravo family. Afterwards, we watched the fireworks at midnight, and then we went right to bed. It was an eventful last day of 2013.

January 1, 2014
Rabbit, Rabbit!
(conejo, conejo!)
I feel like we ended the year with a bang and started this one the same way. Sometimes I wonder if I was meant to be BLONDE . . .

No, we didn’t find any more rats in our house, we just have the usual millions of ants running around. But I can’t decide if this story tops the one yesterday. You tell me . . .

So today, it was raining a bunch when we decided to go to San Javier. So, after lunch we waited in the street for a “micro” (bus) for about 15-20 minutes. Then we decided that since it was New Year’s and everyone was drunk, the bus drivers must be drunk as well, so we flagged down about five taxis, but none of them knew where we needed to go. Finally, one woman knew the place we needed to go, but said it was going to be 20 bolivianos. We said we couldn’t pay that much. She then lowered it to 15 and we said it was still too much. Then she said she would drop us off at the entrance and we could walk from there for free. So, I was thinking, “Oh, well, free is better than the alternative,” so I got in the taxi and Hermana Soto followed. We weren’t paying too much attention to the road when the driver said, “Yeah, there are people wanting to get out.” So, we got out and didn’t know where we were. She said to take a bus to San Javier from there. We flagged down a bus and he said that none of them go to San Javier. We called the Elders to help us figure out what to do and all they did was laugh and tell us to take another taxi. After calling a few members and flagging down five more taxis, we found one that knew the area and we finally got to San Javier. It was an adventure for sure, and I just wonder if I will ever be good with directions. I don’t think so . . .

January 2, 2014
One Horrible Lesson . . . We had District Meeting today, and it started out so great. Elder Leon taught the class about studying more effectively and it was really just what I needed to learn. Then, we only had 15 minutes left and Elder Leon said that Hermana Soto and I “are going to practice.” I was already pretty emotional, because we’d had a bad morning. We began the lesson and I thought it was going well. Then Elder Leon stopped me and told me exactly what I did wrong and told me to start over. At that moment, I started over and couldn’t stop crying. All the missionaries were watching me and it was horrible. I felt stupid, like I didn’t know what I was talking about. It was really frustrating.