Monday, July 28, 2014

Bolivia, Jardin—Week 14

Well, not much happened this week, but it was a good week full of lessons, kittens, and happiness. We found two kittens in the chapel and they had been locked in for a week. We fed them and now they are the wards’ pets. They never leave. Their names are Jared and the brother of Jared (Mahonri) haha. They even joined us in Sacrament meeting until the Young Women’s President literally kicked them out the door with her foot!

I hope you are all doing great. Don’t forget to share the Gospel with a friend this week.
Love you all!
oxox Hermana Nelson
Journal Pages
Ward FHE
Hermana “R” is a member who is really sick. We all decided to go and share a FHE with her to cheer her up. It was sad to see her so sick and I couldn’t help but think of Grandma Nelson. It’s so hard to see people sick, especially those that are close to us, but we can be sure that whatever God has in store is correct. Whether Hermana R gets better or not, we know God’s plan and that either way she will be okay. I have that testimony that we can and will be saved if we just keep the commandments.
“F” lives with the “V” Family and is like their maid. We’ve met with her a few times before, but today we were able to really talk with her and get to know her. She is 22 years old, came to Santa Cruz when she was really young to work and was never able to complete her education. She was going to an evangelic church, and one day just got baptized. She doesn’t know why she was baptized and doesn’t learn anything in her church, so she told us she wants to get to know ours. She had tons of questions and we taught her about the restoration of the Gospel. She was so happy to get to know the church and what we believe. We asked her if she would like to get to know more and be baptized. We placed a date for August 23 and she said that if she’s ready by that date, she’ll do it. I hope she will. We helped her realize lots and how she will help her family get to know the church.
Hermano “V”
We taught Hermano “V” how to study the scriptures today. He wanted to learn about the Plan of Salvation, so we helped him research it in the scriptures. It’s hard because this family still believes in the Catholic Church and they don’t accept the Book of Mormon or Doctrine and Covenants very well.
Wow. Today was really frustrating with “M.” We tried to be really serious with him and help him understand that knowledge isn’t everything. We are really hoping and praying that he will understand it all and just follow the faith that he has.
Familia “Y”
These are investigators of the other Hermanas, but they got married today so that tomorrow they can be baptized. They’ve been waiting months to finally get baptized, so we threw a party for them in the Chapel. The Church is true!
Hermana “W”
We finally found the time to visit Hermana “W” (member) again and she’s doing better. She had her baby a few weeks ago, so she still can’t do much around the house. When we got there, she put us right to work—washing dishes, cleaning out her fridge, and helping her prepare lunch for tomorrow. She said she’s going to name her son Liam (my suggestion) and we got to hang out with the sweet little guy for a while.
The baptism for the Familia “Y” was really great! Lots of people came and I know the family is very happy. They bore their testimonies and told us how grateful they are to be part of the Church.
Hermano “R”
The Hermanas called us and told us that Hermano “R’s” semi-truck got robbed. We called him to see how he was doing and tried to comfort him with scriptures. It’s a huge trial for them, but I know it’s just to test their faith. I hope they realize that and how important it is to keep coming to Church.

Monday, July 21, 2014

Bolivia, Jardin—Week 13

FHE with "Abuela Caty"
Dear Family and Friends,

Well, I’m still here in Jardin and I’m excited to be here and hope that I can help the people. We had some pretty great experiences this week, and I’m loving this work more and more every day.

Probably the biggest thing I’ve learned this week is that we need to follow the promptings of the Spirit in our lives. This week was a week full of promptings to say things that I’m scared to say and do things that I’m scared to do, but I’ve learned to just follow them. It’s hard at first, because I don’t like to tell people that they may need to change, but that’s our job.
I’ve been reading a lot in Alma, and it’s helped me realize that as missionaries, we are called to be representatives of Jesus Christ, and he was never, as Jeffery R. Holland said, "a comfortable God." We cannot do what is comfortable for us if it means jeopardizing the lives of others. We need to be brave and help them so they can come unto Christ. I love this work. I love the opportunity I have to be a missionary. I would not trade it for anything!
I love you all! Have a great week!
xoxo Hna Nelson
Journal Pages
FHE with Grandma “C”
We have an older lady in our ward that everyone calls “Grandma C.” She is basically the only active member in her family and has lots of grandkids, but none of them were raised in the Church. We wanted to teach her husband, but she informed us that he isn’t interested. It was sad to hear about her family. She is such a fantastic example of a courageous, faithful daughter of God—always going to the temple and serving others. What a great example!
District Meeting
Elder Tyson abandoned us and left for Cobija this morning (an area outside the city). We have a new DL—Elder Perez from SLC, UT. We talked about our references and that we had 35 references this week from members! We made goals to keep that number high.
"Chancho al Horno" We can't eat pig, but we can take pictures
Fam “V”
We changed our area limits, so now we are teaching the Familia “V.” We went over right after lunch and at first it was a bit hard to get them all to listen, but they all came and we began our FHE (but in the afternoon). Their oldest son is having a rough time. He had his head down during the whole lesson and as we were talking about their temple preparation, they all began to blame him for their lack of preparation. It’s so hard to be in a situation like this, but we truly want to help them prepare, so we are going to meet with them on a regular basis. I don’t know how to help them raise their children, and I most definitely don’t know how to solve their problems, but I do know that this Gospel brings happiness. My family isn’t perfect and we have our moments when we are contentious, but I love them more than anything in this life. I know that I am sealed to them for time and all eternity and the only thing I hope for is to see them all again someday. I love this Gospel and the plan that my Father in Heaven has for me.
Baby Shower

Monday, July 14, 2014

Bolivia, Jardin—Week 12

Dear Family and Friends,
I can’t believe how fast the weeks fly by. I hope you all had a great week. Mine was just full of activities, finding (mostly older) people, teaching, and learning lots. We are working really hard with all the youth now to get at least a few from the ward excited about doing missionary work. It’s hard for the people here to understand that we don’t and can’t do all the work, but poco a poco they will learn and hopefully sooner than later.
I truly love this work. I love seeing the people change when they truly accept our messages. It’s extremely hard to find people who are interested, but at least there are a few. All I know is that we are planting a lot of seeds that other missionaries will have the opportunity to rescue and baptize.
For any of you who are having a hard time in your life, go out and serve! You don’t have to be a full-time missionary to share the Gospel. Something that has really made an impact in my missionary service is a phrase that Elder Uceda told us a few weeks ago, “Hablar no es Ensenar” (or in English, “Talking is not teaching.” We need to teach through our example and service to others. So, that’s what we are doing here. We are teaching through example and service.
I love you all so much and hope you have a fantastic week!
xoxo Hermana Nelson
P.S. I found Stephanie (Amanda’s cousin) in the Liahona (New Era) this month!! Crazy! I was freaking out in church and showing everyone.
Journal Pages
Service, Open House, Talent Show
The Elders came to our chapel this morning to help us set up for the activity we had this afternoon. We move all of the benches and such so we could have an Open House and Talent Show. Then we practiced our “talent” that we presented tonight.
So after about 2 months of planning, we finally had our activity. We didn’t have as many people show up as we would’ve liked, but the members came and helped tons. We went with all of the youth as well and knocked doors and invited people to the activity (with little success, but at least the YM/YW were able to do a little missionary work).
Our “talent” was ridiculous, but everything turned out really well. Now I just hope the members are excited enough to continue planning activities which will help the ward grow and become stronger.
We went to contact a reference from the Bishop today. She’s separated from her husband and has two kids. She immediately opened up to us and told us her whole story. She’s really sad and is trying to find some happiness in her life. She told us that she visited the church a while ago and that she likes it a lot. She is super motivated to do everything to find out if the church is true. Yippee!
Today we went to the Stake Dance Festival. They all dance one cultural dance and the Stake watches and cheers them on. We couldn’t watch Jardin, but we were able to see a few of the others. I miss dancing . . .
We were searching through old investigator records today and found “M.” He is 84 years old, lives alone, and studies religion daily. He has books & books & books about the second coming, the Bible, etc. We visited him today and it was very interesting. He didn’t really let us get a word in, but we found out a lot about his beliefs. He said that he read the Book of Mormon and prayed, but hasn’t received an answer quite yet. We have another appointment with him this week, so we will see how it goes.
We had a hard time finding anyone else who wanted to listen to us today because they were all watching intently the game between Argentina and the Netherlands (Argentina won). We were able to visit Israel’s mom and she is super sweet. We have plans to teach her this week, so maybe she’ll open up and let him receive the lessons again.

Monday, July 7, 2014

Bolivia, Jardin—Week 11

Muuuuuuyyyyyyy buenos dias Familia y Amigos,

I hope you all had a fantastic week, and especially the 4th of July! Let’s see, my 4th of July wasn’t really the best one I’ve had. First off, I forgot that it was the 4th of July, but my companion reminded me when we found an American flag in the trash can. Sometimes it’s hard to be an American in an anti-American country with a companion who dislikes Americans (but mostly just Utah Americans—wait, that’s me!), but all is well. I really love my companion a ton. It’s just that where she’s from they teach them to dislike Americans, but her prior companion gave me a “heads up,” so I know what not to talk about. She’s actually really cool. Sometimes we get on each other’s nerves, but yeah, that will happen when you live with someone for 24 hrs. a day. I love Bolivia. It’s just really different.

Let’s see, what else . . . We had a conference with the whole mission on Wednesday with Elder Uceda (president of the area) and it was so great. They are really focusing now on the wards and how we can help them grow. He announced that we won’t be opening up new areas, or splitting wards, but the missionaries and the members will just be working hard to get the less-actives activated so we can get the wards to grow. We talked a lot about how well wards of 300-400 work, so now we are all focused on that. I would love to come back here in 15-20 years and see the wards strengthened and bigger. The church is celebrating its 50 years in Bolivia, so I imagine it has come a long way in these 50 years. Now we just need to help them so they can function on their own. It’s not going to be easy, but we will try our best to help them out.
I hope you all have a wonderful week!
xoxo Hermana Nelson
Journal Pages
Zone Meeting
Today was great! At our Zone meeting in the morning, we learned about how to teach effectively. We watched a fantastic video by Elder Holland about the atonement and missionary work. It’s so true what he says. That sometimes, as missionaries we wonder why the mission is so hard, but he explains that it is because we need to feel just a little how the Savior felt during his lifetime. And through these experiences we can feel for just one second, a little of the pain he went through.
I’m grateful for this opportunity to serve. Something another Hermana said was that sometimes we count down the days until we get to go back home, but in reality, we should be sad to think that it is one less day we are able to be in the presence of God. I have a goal. I’m going to put all of my fears aside and work as hard as I can until that day comes.
July 4th
It wasn’t the ideal 4th of July. We found American flags in the streets and in the garbage, but it’s okay. We were able to visit and teach a few people today that were really great, so it was all worth it. God Bless America!
Lunch with Bishop
We met with the Bishop for a few hours today to talk about how we can help strengthen this ward. We are in the process of unifying the wards and they aren’t going to split wards or open new areas until the wards grow and stay that way. We talked about a lot of ways to help the less-active members more than anything.
Familia “M”
So, we’ve been visiting the “Familia M” for a few weeks now and we met their son yesterday. We took him to the dance practices the YM/YW are having and today his parents told us that he is so excited and is going to take work off so he can come to the practices and church with us! We are super excited. I really hope he progresses and that his family joins him. He has six sisters and seven nieces/nephews, so this could be a real strong family in the church.