Monday, June 30, 2014

Bolivia, Jardin—Week 10

Dearest Family and Friends,

First of all, I hope you all have a wonderful 4th of July on Friday! I will be sadly missing all of the festivities, but you’d better light some fireworks in my honor. You should all be so glad to be Americans. Really. Being in a foreign country makes you so happy to know that you live in a country with rules and freedom. Let’s just say I will kiss the ground in Utah when I get back. Don’t get me wrong—I love Bolivia, but I also like laws and things that can protect us and our families.
Yeah, enough of all that, now on to my week:
We had emergency transfers. Mixed emotions, but I am so happy with Hermana Mullisaca! She is great! She’s a convert of about 5 years, she’s the only member in her family, and this is her third mission. She started in Cocha, left to Venezuela, but then with all the problems, they had to pull all the missionaries out and now she’s here in this mission. She has one transfer more than me, and she’s amazing. She truly has a love for everyone and truly wants everyone to know about the gospel and how it can positively affect their lives like it has hers.
We went to visit “A.” We are probably going to let her go for a while until she can keep the commitments. She has the excuse that her mom doesn’t want her to go to church with us, and her mom has 80 something years, and she has 50 something, but her mother is still controlling her life.
Then we had FHE with the “C” Familia and they gave us some great news. They are going to wait to get married until June next year so they can get sealed too!!! And they said they want us to be there. Easier for Hna. Mullisaca, but I’ll try my best when I get home to be able to go to their wedding. I’m so, so happy for them!
We went in search of new people . . . and we found two! “N” is a single mother with one daughter that has 3 years. Her best friend from middle school is in our ward and she told us she really wants to get to know the church better for her daughter. Score!
We visited “A”, who informed us that he’s moving to Oruro (close to La Paz) for 3 months. We taught him about enduring to the end and how he needs to find the church there and stay active. He said he will.
We visited “M.” We knocked her door last week and taught her about the Plan of Salvation and today we taught her the Restoration. She was so attentive and understood all of it. She told us that she thinks that all of it is true, but that it’s going to take her a while to change her thoughts from Catholic to Mormon. We were so excited and wanted to set a baptismal date, but then she told us that she will be going to Canada for a few months to visit family there. We are sad, but I just really hope she can progress later on.
We went to the other missionaries’ baptism . . . and found some new investigators!
We met with a couple who were meeting with the missionaries a while ago. They were super attentive and said they want to get baptized, but that they are nervous that they won’t be able to keep all the commandments afterwards. We talked a lot about the Spirit and how it will be a guide in their lives. They said they will pray together to know if they need to be baptized.
There are a lot of families here that are so discouraged because they feel like they just have so much to do and they get overwhelmed, but one thing we’ve been teaching them all is to Endure to the End. No matter what happens, we have to just keep pushing through, or we will never make it. We watched the Emma Smith movie yesterday with a family, and it’s amazing the endurance she had through all of her hardships. That’s one thing we’ve been focusing on a lot lately and it has made my testimony grow immensely as well as my outlook on life. I never want to go back to the silly teenage girl I was before. I want to be better, I want to teach everyone how they can make it back to live in His presence, and more than anything, I want to be able to be an example to my future husband and children of a diligent, serviceful, loving, spirtitual mother like you were to me, Mom. I want more than anything to live with my family forever and in the presence of my Father in Heaven. I love this Gospel. Every day I learn more and more and I love to put it all into practice. The Church is true and the Gospel is the only way that we can make it back to our Father in Heaven.
I know that you all can do it! Hang in there and don’t ever forget to say your prayers, because your Father in Heaven wants to listen to you!
Have a great week!
xoxo Hermana Nelson

Monday, June 23, 2014

Bolivia, Jardin—Week 9

Dearest Family and Friends,

HAPPY ANNIVERSARY MOM AND DAD! I really hope you get to celebrate it well even though your lives are crazy busy. 

This morning we had emergency transfers. Hermana Mullisaca is coming here and I don’t really know her yet, so I’ll tell you all about her next week. 

My package finally came on Saturday. I was very happy. Thanks so much. 

I was reading about the family reunion and such, and it sounds like you all had a great time. Crazy that Ryan is home and that Darin is married! Tell him congrats for me. Other than that, I hope you are all doing well. 

We had Stake Conference this weekend and Elder Uceda (from the Area Presidency) came to talk to us and reorganize the Stake presidency. It was a great conference that I really needed and a lot of the families here needed to hear. It’s rough being in a small ward with a lot of new members as presidents of the organizations, but we are pulling through. Elder Uceda talked a lot about the blessings of having a large ward and how we all need to work together to be able to make our wards grow so that we can be more organized and so that everyone can be a little less stressed. 

This week was rough. It was rough with my companion, with health problems, and such, but all is going to be better. I’ve learned to rely on my Father in Heaven so much these past few weeks as they have been a few of the hardest weeks of my mission. Please keep me in your prayers. And always know that you are all in my prayers as well.

Take care.

Les quiero mucho,

xoxo Hermana Nelson

Monday, June 16, 2014

Bolivia, Jardin—Week 8

Dearest Family and Friends,

Well, what to say about this week? Lots of things happened and I’m just grateful for the opportunity I have to be serving a mission in Bolivia at this time.
My birthday was great (see my journal page for details). I didn’t get anything in the mail yet, but they said they have something for me today. Not sure. The package hasn’t come yet, so we’ll just have to see if it comes next week.
Dad, I hope you had a wonderful Father’s day! I was thinking about you all day yesterday and how all I want to do is give you a big hug and kiss and watch a movie with you. I ate a Snickers (a very expensive Snickers) and Coca-Cola in honor of your big day yesterday. :)
Winter is just starting, but it’s very strange here. One day is freeeeeezzzzing cold, one day rain non-stop, and then the next, sun and sun, and more sun and soooooooo hot. But yeah, I’m getting used to it. My body doesn’t like it, though. I’m constantly getting colds about once a week, but they only last a few days, thank heavens.
Congrats to Michelle. I can’t believe she’s married! Wow!
Love you all so much! (my week will be summed up in my journals)
xoxo  Hermana Nelson
Journal Pages
Happy 20th Birthday
(to Becca and me!)
What a great birthday it was! First, I got to send Dad a Father’s Day video that an Hermana let me film on her phone. It was awkward to film my message in front of everyone. I sang him a Hymn, so I hope he enjoys it. (He DID enjoy it . . . as soon as he stopped sobbing! It was very sweet and so fun to see her again.)
Then, we went to lunch. They made me a pizza like I requested and afterwards, they made me a cake. They sang and made me bite into the cake (of course one of the Hermanas pushed my face in it, so I had whipped cream all over), but it was really sweet of the Antelo Family to do so much for my birthday.
We went to the Valencia Family’s house and they made me more cake . . . then we went to visit the Bishop’s wife and we made key lime and apple pies. Thank heavens she didn’t know it was my birthday!
Hermana Rivera was acting weird, and I was feeling gross (I have a cold), but she wanted to go to different stores and look at things. She then told me that we could go home and sleep early, but we needed to go to the church first. A few of the members were waiting to surprise me with cake and a little party. My companion and the other Hermanas had planned the whole thing.
I’m really grateful to be here at this time. It was a hard day, talking about my family traditions with my companion and thinking of how my birthday would have been at home, but I’m glad I’m here. There are many lovely members that have made me feel very loved and important. It’s hard to be away from my family during these special days, but I know that I am truly giving up 18 months of my life so the people here can be with their families for the eternities.
We went to Campo Rosa today to do service for a member family whose house (a few rooms) fell down during the wind and rain storm. We helped move bricks and everything out of the way so we can build it up again. We got all that done and the Elders were doing some heavy lifting, so the Hermana told us to come inside. Her husband works for a candy company, so she shared some chocolate with us and the Elders. 
I received some cinnamon rolls from the Quezadas for my birthday today!
Zone Meeting
Today our zone leaders talked to us about obedience and obeying with exactness. We talked about the army of Helaman and how obedient these 2,000 young men were to leave their homes and families, put their lives on the line, and act on the faith they had that God would deliver them out of the hands of the Lamanites. There was not one who died in the battle. “We are as the army of Helaman, we have been taught in our youth, and we will be are the Lord’s missionaries, we’ll bring the world his truth.” Sometimes we may fail and because we are human, we won’t be able to follow every rule every time, but if we put our faith and confidence in God, and the atonement of Christ, all is possible. If I just do my part and try my best, He will make up the difference.
Hermana Zambrano came to visit me today because she was in Peru for a few days—including on my birthday. She came to bring me a cake and a postcard from Peru. So sweet of her!
Then the Elders called to tell us not to go out in the rain until it stopped. We waited for a bit, then headed to lunch just in time for it to begin pouring again. We got soaking wet, ate lunch, and got a haircut. The rain never stopped, so we went back to the house and hung out until evening. The rain still didn’t let up, so we watched a movie about the history of Joseph Smith, made popcorn, and slept.
On Monday, we visited “F.” She was so excited for her baptism. We gave her the interview and she’s ready! It’s sad that we can’t go, but she said she’ll bring pictures. We talked about Alma 50 and Mosiah when they built up the city walls to protect them from the Lamanites. We built our own “walls” of protection with cookies and talked about the principles of the Gospel that will help us keep Satan out. I’m glad I have a family who always taught me the importance of these principles so I could become who I am today.
We visited “F” again yesterday. She was super excited and super ready. Yeah for baptism! We went over to celebrate and congratulate her today. Her boyfriend baptized her and they said she was so happy all day. She’ll be receiving the Spirit tomorrow, which also should be great. We were sad we couldn’t be a part of it, but we’re so happy for her!

Monday, June 9, 2014

Bolivia, Jardin—Week 7

Hola querido familia y amigos,
Well, this email is going to be a little short because you are all so fantastic and I had a lot of emails to respond to, THANKS SO MUCH! I truly feel the love from all the way over here in Bolivia. 
This week was fantastic! I got to go to Dulce Quezada’s baptism in Charcas on Monday and that was the highlight of my week. I only told Hermana Smith that I was going, and when we got to the gate, Dulce was sobbing and ran up to meet me. Then her family followed, also with tears in their eyes, and Dulce told me that I fulfilled her birthday wish. Her mom told me that the whole week before the baptism Dulce had wanted to call me and invite me to her baptism, but she explained to her that I was far away and couldn’t leave my area. On Monday, Hermana Smith told me that it was her baptism a little later, so I called and asked President for permission and . . . HE SAID YES! So, we hopped in a Taxi at 5:30, and about an hour later, we arrived at the baptism. It was so beautiful—all of it. President Quezada gave a talk that was very powerful and full of the spirit, and afterward his wife sang a beautiful song about baptism. Then after the ordinance, they both sang ‘Teach Me to Walk in the Light,’ and Dulce bore her testimony about her baptism. We stayed for a little bit to eat cake and then we had to say goodbye. It was hard, but I know that they know they will always be remembered. Even if I won’t be able to visit Bolivia very often, I will always keep them in my thoughts and my prayers. 
I didn't get transferred. I was partly hoping to be, because this area is difficult, but I know that the Lord is keeping me here because I need to learn and serve more. So, with all the strength and energy I have, I’m going to work hard until this ward is better than I found it. 
Other than that, not much happened. We don’t have any progressing investigators, but our less-active members are progressing well. We had four of our five families come to church, and we were both very happy for that. 
This work is harder than I ever imagined, but I know that this is where I need to be at this time. Although it’s hard to be with a companion that only speaks Spanish 100% of the time, we walk no matter what the weather is like, no one even thinks to stop and give us a ride when it is raining (well, we aren’t in Utah . . . ), and sometimes the people make fun of me because I say things that aren’t grammatically correct, I still hang in there. That is something we teach every day—to hang in there until the Lord comes again. I’m going to have to just hang in here and wait patiently until that day comes. I know that when it does come, I will be able to proudly walk in front of my Savior and he will tell me, “Well done, my beloved servant.” But until that day comes, I will work until the job is done, walk until my feet fail me, and smile until the people can feel my love for them. I am a servant of the Lord Jesus Christ and I will not fail him. 
“Behold, we count them happy which endure.” James 5:11
I can do hard things.
I love you all. Share the gospel with someone this week. It will make you happy. 

xoxo  Hermana Nelson

Monday, June 2, 2014

Bolivia, Jardin—Week 6

Mi querido Familia,

I hope you are all doing great and loving life in beautiful Summery Utah. It’s so strange that it is June and freezing cold. I’m never going to get used to the opposite climates.
Hermanas Smith and Nelson
This week went by so fast—and also the month of May. I’m just trying to make the most of the time I have here because I know that in the blink of an eye, it’s all going to be over.
We've been continuing to teach “F” who is progressing very well. She lives in the other mission  boundaries, so we will not be able to go to her baptism, but she is meeting with the other missionaries over there, so the baptism plans are going well.
We had an activity on Monday to surprise Hermana Zambrano for Mother’s day (it’s on a different day here in Bolivia) and it was really great—lots of tears (of course), but really fun. To top it all off, Pres. bought us KFC! yahoo!
We had our missionary talent show on Friday and it was fantastic. Dropbox won’t let me send the videos, but they are super great. There is a show here called “Yo me llamo” with people that act like famous singers and sing like them in this show, so we did a mimic and we all performed something in “yo soy!” It was great fun.
We are still working with Hermana “R” and she is progressing very well. She and her daughter came to all of church yesterday which was a huge step for them.
I have a testimony of this work. It’s hard—emotionally, physically, and mentally, but I know that I always have the Lord on my side. I love this work. I love the Gospel and I have a testimony of the truth of this work. We are in the Lord’s true church and he has called me to preach the good word to the people here in Bolivia.
Like it says in Isaiah 61:1-2:
"The Spirit of the Lord God is upon me; because the Lord hath anointed me to preach good tidings unto the meek; he hath sent me to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives . . . to proclaim the acceptable year of the Lord, to comfort all that mourn."
I love you all so much!
xoxo Hermana Nelson