Monday, February 3, 2014

Bolivia, Charcas—Week 19

Hello Family and Friends,

This week was really good and bad and just about everything in-between.

Hermana Smith and I are alive and well, together, and still in Charcas!

We won’t dwell on it, but this week was pretty difficult. We learned lots, had some pretty crazy experiences, and really felt like we experienced a little bit of what the Savior felt when he was here and the people didn’t want to listen. We studied a talk from Elder Holland this morning for our personal study. I’m not sure if it was from Conference, or just a conference for missionaries, but it talks about how the mission will not be easy, and even the greatest missionary of all the world asked for help and asked why it couldn’t have been easier. I’m glad we got a week to experience this and feel a little of what the Savior felt.

I’m so very thankful for this Gospel. I am realizing more and more every day how important it is and how much I don’t want to go back to the person I was before. I’m grateful for the changes it’s creating in me, and I hope to be forever changed from this experience when I get home.

I love you all so much! I invite you to continue to study the Book of Mormon, always pray to your Father in Heaven (the only person who understands what you are going through), and always be worthy of the blessings of the temple. If you aren’t doing these things now, I challenge you to start. I have seen the miracles and changes this Gospel can bring and I am strengthening my testimony every day because of this experience I am having.

I love you all so much! Have a great week!


Hermana Nelson

Journal Pages
February 2, 2014
Fast Sunday
Met the new Elder in our Ward.
Played the piano . . . good thing they picked the hardest songs in the book!
Victoria came to Church and gave me a mom-hug!
Had a heated lesson in Relief Society about wearing garments, and since our ward is “newly-wed or nearly dead,” the older sisters started telling stories about each other using names and all . . . oh, dear!
Hermana Smith and I modeled our modest clothing for the women.
Broke our fast—ate PB&J Sandwiches.
Ate lunch with the Quezadas.
Played the “cup game” that you learn at Girls’ Camp.
Knocked doors.
Met an old man who asked us to come back some time to dance with him . . . um, awkward!
Knocked doors.
Ran away from dogs and drunks in the street.
Came home and drank hot chocolate.
Laughed lots.
February 1st
Another “one” of those days . . .
After visiting with the B. family and placing a baptismal date for Xjimena (which we had to plan for after Carnival, which I’ll probably be gone for) and talking with her mom about coming back to Church, we decided to knock doors for a bit.

Blue House
While knocking doors and having no luck, I suggested we go to another street, but Hermana Smith said, “Please can we just knock on this one blue house? It’s my favorite color!” I said, “Sure.” A woman answered the door. She didn’t even introduce herself, and we didn’t have the opportunity to either. She just said, “Come in!” (in Spanish)

So we walked in and her family was eating bread and tea at a big table. They had two empty chairs like they had been waiting for us. We tried to explain who we were and get to know everyone, but before we had the chance, the man at the head of the table began talking about the Bible and religion and things. Although we tried really hard, we couldn’t get a word in. He talked for about 20 minutes and then he “turned the time” over to his son. The first thing he said (with almost a creepy smile on his face) was, “We’re Jehovah’s Witnesses!” Ugh! Our worst nightmare come true. He talked for another 25 minutes about how we need to study the Bible more like them and so forth. It was very difficult to get in two words, so we just bore our testimonies that this is the true church and slipped out.

Br. Family
And then, to top it all off, we had a really beautiful lesson planned for the Br. family. We watched a Mormon Message about Stephanie Nielson, and we were trying to have a spiritual moment when the family began accusing us of not wanting to baptize their son because they can’t come to Church. I’m beginning to feel a bit like Satan doesn’t want to leave us alone. The mish is hard, but I can do hard things!

January 29th
No Transfers!
The Elders just called and said we aren’t changing areas! But the convo went a little like this . . . (translated into English)

Elder Leon: Hermana Smith, you are first. You are gonna stay in Charcas . . .
Me: Elder, please just tell us . . .
Elder Leon: Yeah . . . well . . . Hermana Nelson . . . um . . . um . . . you’re going to go . . .
Me: Yeah, okay, where? (almost in tears)
Elder Leon: You’re going to go . . . and stay in your area.

What a meanie! But I’m so happy we get to stay here together for at least one more transfer! Tomorrow we’ll see who’s staying and who is going out of the zone.

January 28th
We had service this morning and we cut the grass with machetes and got burned again. I got a few blisters, so I guess it was a successful day.

Delia is a woman we visited a little while back who is 76 years old and very much Catholic. She does like to listen to us and she came to Church last week and found a friend in the Ward. We invited her to a baptism today and she said she’ll think about it.

We almost passed by a door we had knocked on last week and Selene actually let us in! Better yet, she asked if she could paint our nails for free. Bonus! She’s really great and we have a lot of faith that she and her husband will accept us. Yay!

January 27th
Monday (P-Day)
Game Day with the Quezadas!
We taught the Quezadas how to play spoons and scum and they loved it! Then we made Rice Cripsy Treats (with Frosted Flakes), which they thought were way too sweet!

FHE with the P. Family
After, we had FHE with the P. family. They are a very sweet family and have a really cool story. Hermana P. was a member and had kids, but her husband died when they were in Switzerland. There, she met Hermano P., converted him, and they are now married. All of their kids are grown, except for one whom they adopted because his mom abused him when he was a baby. They are really sweet.

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