Monday, February 6, 2017

The last email

Hello everyone. I want to thank you all for the emails and the support that you guys have given me in these last couple weeks. I feel very loved and know there are a lot of people that have been thinking and praying for me and I am so very thankful. I feel a rush of emotions right now, a mix of excitement, anxious, fear, sadness, and a lot of joy. Really I cant describe how I feel to be finishing the mission. It doesn't seem real but I'm also realizing that it is very real and coming very fast. A lot of people in these days and weeks have been trying to tell and prepare me for the life after the mission, the importance of staying on the path and keeping the commandments, doing the little things to always keep a testimony strong. Although I know i will never really be able to understand Gods plan that he has for me in these next couple days, weeks and years, i know that the mission will always bless my life. I know that many of the things that I have learned here will be the foundation of how I form everything in all the important decisions that I will be taking in not too long of time. As for as the things that have happened in this week I was going to explain all that happened but then I decided to be "that" missionary and quote 3 John 1:13-14...

 13 had many things to write, but will not with ink and pen write unto thee:
 14 But trust shall shortly see thee, and we shall speak face to face. Peace be to thee. Our friends salute thee. Greet the friends by name.

.... yeah sorry I had to do it. Anyways I am super excited to see everyone and excited to enjoy these last couple days in the mission... really its just tonight and tomorrow I will be in the field because on Wednesday I will be in the Temple and with President and on Thursday super early Ill be going to the airport. 

I would, however like to leave you guys with my testimony. My true feelings really cant be shared through an email but I will try my best. I feel as if I have changed greatly in these last two years. I am so so grateful for the decision I took to serve. It has been the greatest decision in my life. It has been hard and I have not been perfect, but I really feel like I have tried my best and hope I have made the difference I needed to make here in this wonderful country. I love my Saviour, Jesus Christ. My testimony of Him and His Gospel and grown so much in this time that looking back I don't not even recognize the testimony that I thought I once had. I really have felt his love, I have felt the power of His Atonement, and have felt him on my side when I felt Like I could not go any further and I have seen His Miracle and blessings being poured into my life and the lives of so many people that i love here in this country. I know this Church is true and that we have a living prophet and guides us. I sustain him with all my heart and know he will help guide us in these last days. I know the Church was restored through a young boy that had a simple question, nothing can break me from the certainty I have Joseph Smith was called of God, that he Saw God the Father and His Son Jesus Christ, and that through him the Book of Mormon was translated as evidence and testimony of Jesus Christ and His love that he has for all his children. I also know that families can be together forever. Nothing sounds so sweet in my ears than that phrase and it has come to be the peace and surety that holds me together in hard times as I think that through temple covenants I can be with my family for all time and eternity. I am so grateful that God has let me be on the Earth in these days to witness the Restoration of the Gospel and I plan to live my life the best i can to reflect just how grateful I am. 

Once Again I want to thank you all. Really I could not have done all this without the support of friends and family back home. I hope to see all of you that i can soon to personally express the gratitude. Well... see you guys on Thursday!

Love (for the last time),
Elder Nelson

Monday, January 30, 2017

10 days...

Well hello everybody. I guess today I feel like I dont have a lot to say. We are working hard here in Usulutan and everything is pretty normal... except for the fact that I am going to be home in 10 days. i guess this is the second to last time i will be writing home in an email and I have very mixed feelings. I do not want to stop being a missionary. This has become my life and I cant even imagone what it would be like to not do what we do every day. I am nervous and excited. Sad and Happy. i think its one of those things you cant really describe and cant understand until you are right in the middle of it. 
This week was good. We were able to bring a lot of people to Church and a lot of new people came and seemed to like it. There are a lot of people progressing here and it makes me really happy to see the work going forward and seeing all the people that the Lord is preparing to hear the gospel. I have spent a lot of time thanking the Lord for the blessing i have had to be a part of this Gospel. There is not a greater gift that He could have given me and I feel so grateful and indebted to Him. I know this Church is true I cant find any doubt in my heart that its true.  It has been such a blessing in my life and know it will keep blessing my life and the life of family for eternities.
This week we are just going to keep working.. Yeah it gets a little baggy because everyone starts talking about how you are going home and a lot of people invite you to come eat dinner to celebrate (no complaints there) but I also plan to work hard until the very end. Thanks for all the support and talk to you guys next monday for the last time!!! 

Elder Nelson

Monday, January 23, 2017

2 weeks...

Welllll everyone.... hope everything is going great and you guys are enjoying the cold weather. i assure you that the cold weather has not reached El Salvador because it is very hot, but I am also very used to it and feel like I am going to freeze to death when I go home. I saw that Trump entered in as President and everyone here loves to talk to me about that... I don't think they realize I am so disconnected that I have no idea what is going on back home... I guess it is better that way. Did I mention that I have 2 weeks left until I go home? Wow... time is flying by so fast. I thought that maybe these last two weeks would go by slowly but trust me.. time is short. I do feel the urgency of working the best I can in this time I have left. I really love to teach. I have found that I am happy in those teaching situation and talking about the Gospel. Its sad to think that soon that wont by calling of full time and I will just be a normal citizen with REAL LIFE PROBLEMS that I don't want to face. Ugh

Anyways this week was good but a Little hard. A lot of the people we thought were going to progress didn't... and although we still have a lot of really positive people to teach we are thinking that some of these people are going to need a Little more time tan we thought... and I repeat.. Time is not something I have a lot of right now. But where there is a will there is a way and I am just really happy and feel really be blessed to be able to be a part of there progress in whatever way I can. I really really love the people here in El Salvador and everything about them, they really are unique and special in many ways and will always have a special place for me. I am so grateful for my calling here and for every one I have met, I hope to have made a change in a couple of lives because I can say that all this experiences have taught me so much. I hope to make the most it. Well that is all I have this week we had my last Zone Conference and this week should be a pretty normal working week. Thanks for all the love and support from everyone and for being there every step of the way. Cant wait to see everyone here in a couple weeks! Till next week!

Elder Nelson

Monday, January 16, 2017

One week more is one week less?

Hello everyone! Hope everyone is having a great week. This week for us has been really busy and really good. We had the chance to find a lot of familys that are super positive and are progressing a lot. The weddings that we are having are moving along with a few problems but we still hope to have it all done by the end of Janurary... Planning weddings are hard, I give you props mom. We found the two young adults that we are teaching and we werent sure if they really were going to take us seriously, but we taught them about the restauración and when we went back a few days later they had read it all twice and looked at the website and read the entire Joseph Smith story and recited it from memory his experience and were super excited to get a book of mormon and start reading. We also found another family of 5 that said they were passing a bunch of problems in there lives and were looking for a church to go to but hadnt found one that they liked and were definitely interested in going to church with us next week. We also found a someone that about 2 weeks ago had just lost her 17 year old daughter to an illness and was very sad about the situation. We were able to talke to here about eternal familys and the restauracion and she seemed very interested. basically this week has helped to see as i have seen for these past two years the God always places people in our path and it is He that prepares them to hear this message. We just have the responsibilty to open our mouths and preach. I love this Gospel and I love my Savior. 

Other than that we have my last multi zone this week. It was kind of sad becasue i really dont want to leave this life that I have and I have come to love the people here. President Vasquez also announced that the new mission President that would be coming here in July is President Duran from Honduras. Changes always bring exciting new things into the mission. Thanks for all the love and support you guys have all given me especially in these last couple of weeks! I promise to work hard till the end! Have a great week! 

Elder Nelson 

Here's a couple of pictures, one of a a package I got!  Thank you! 

Monday, January 9, 2017

4 Weeks Left?

Well everyone I hope you guys are enjoying January... I cant believe it is Janurary becasue here in Usulután it is extremely hot and I am sun burnt and pass all day sweating on dirt roads. But hey, I was looking for a way to lose a little weight my last change so I guess this works? Anyways this week was pretty good, I am getting to know the área a Little better and the members here are really nice and good with the missionaries. We have been able to find a couple of people to teach and work with us which is always a huge plus especially when everyones husbands works all day. We have two couples, Isabel and Miguel, and Celina and Oscar, who are planning on getting married in these upcoming two weeks and then after to get baptized.  So we have been busy planning the weddings and helping them with all the paperwork. We are hoping it goes through because they really want to be baptized so they can become members of the church and receive all the blessings that God has promised them. Other than that it was a pretty normal week. We were able to fast this week and that was a great experience.  I love being able to fast for my investigators and thinking of them instead of myself.  I feel like those fasts are way more meaningful. These last couple days It has been kind of hard to keep my mind focused.  More than anything in the night times when I am not as busy and sometimes baggy, thoughts get into my mind and its harder to get going after that. I think more than anything in these last weeks we are trying to lose ourselves in the work because I am starting to realize that soon I will have to stop being a full time missionary and that is getting harder and harder to face. But it should be a good week.  We have multi Zonas, which will be my last one and I love the chances we get to hear Pte Vasquez teach.  He is such an inspired man. Thanks for everything and for the love and support! Till next Week!

Elder Nelson

Monday, January 2, 2017

Happy New Year!

Happy new year everyone! Its crazy to think that it is already 2017! Thinking about it, this year has really flown by and I cant believe from beginning to end I have been here serving in El Salvador... life is crazy some times. Well I guess I can give you guess an update on whats going on... so I had changes and monday night and tuesday I had to say goodbye to a lot of people and that was a little hard. I really love the people back there in Apopa. But yeah so that was that and then Wednesday we got a ride out to the bus stop with all my things. There i was informed of my new area... I am currently in USULTAN! Its about 40 minutes from San Miguel where I started the mission! I was really surprised that I would be being back out to oriente for this last change and did not expect to come out here. It seems pretty cool out here, and by cool I am not talking about the weather because it is SUPER HOT. Reminds me of my first months in the mission... But my area is out in the fields and away from the city so it is cool to leave the city and be back in the country side and it is definitely a way different feel. My companion is Elder Quintana,,, he is from Guatemala and has about 6 months in the mission. He has a big love for the people and likes to work so it should be a good change. There are a lot of people here to work with and we are hoping to have a couple baptisms in this change so we are praying that everything goes as planned. 
So that was pretty much my week, also I am district leader again which is cool even though I was kind of hoping to die in peace but my district is pretty cool and really young, there is another missionary here, Elder Aller that is from the white mountains... Showlow I think? so that has been cool. This week I have just been getting to know the members, the ward here is pretty cool and seems like a good place to work. Thanks for all the support and for the prayers I wish everyone a Happy New Years and hope the best! 

Elder Nelson

Saturday, December 31, 2016

Elder Nelson's Christmas Call, 2016

Chad’s Call, Christmas 2016

5:59 pm Chad is online.  We call Bean and Rimo.  And are trying to connect to Chad.  Not connecting……. 6:00pm.   

Calling Chad again.  6:02.  His companion still has 10 more minutes.  The connection is sketchy.  We’re going to wait til his companion is done for a better connection.  False alarm. 

6:20.  Trying again.  Connects and we get Bean and Rimo on too.

Done.  He looks great!  He has very white teeth.  And super smiley.  

Chad: Is that a new couch?
M&D:  Yes! 
Navy: Chad!! 
M&D: You waited for everyone else to go first? 
Chad: Yeah.  We’re within walking distance from our house, so it was okay.  My companion talks really loud.  He kind of reminds me of you, Mom.  
M: Oh… Good! Haha
Chad: I’ve just been sitting here waiting since about 1:00.  
M: For breanna it’s late.  Like 2:00am.  
Chad: Oh wow!  My bad.  I didn’t realize it was so late there.  
M: Were you able to give away the ties and candy canes? 
Chad: They were great.  Yeah, I was only able to give out a couple.  But I plan to give away the rest.  
M: How were the holidays different this year than last year? 
Chad: We went and ate at more houses this year.  We ate at like 5 houses.  
M: Your teeth look super white! 
Chad: I think it’s just a reflection…
Dad: We’ll get you to the dentist when you get home. 
M: We were hoping to do a little open house for you.  Is that okay? 
Chad: Yeah, as long as people come..
M: They will! 
Chad: Am I giving a homecoming talk when I get home.  
M: Yep! The 12th or something like that.  
Chad: great.  
M: I’m going to tell you really fast what I signed you up for…. 
Chad: (He’s not happy about the math and science courses….) 
M: You can change it later if you want.  
Chad: sounds good!  Sign me up for morning classes.. like not too early though.  
D: You need to meet your new niece.  
Chad: Hi Evelyn!  Bye Evelyn.  
M: Do you have a question Breanna? 
Breanna: Hiii!  No, but I’m going to be there when you come home. 
M: Have you had some baptisms? 
Chad: Yes. 
M: Did you take pictures? 
Chad: Yes
M: We heard you don’t eat hot foods there. 
Chad: Yeah, I don’t eat spicy foods here at all.  Some times I add hot sauce at home.  But, not at all.
M: Do you want an elk permit.
Chad: ….. yes. 
M: Lexi wants to know: Have you taken any pictures? 
Chad: I have.  A couple.  I have like 30 pictures of my mission.  Basically the ones I’ve sent you are all I have. 
M: Lexi wants to know, What do kids there do for fun? 
Chad: They color things.  They are called ‘trumples’.  The thing that spins. It took me three years to learn.  They spin it and battle with it.  I accidentally hit my companion one time and I was banned from it for a week. 
M: do you know if you’ll be changed this week? 
Chad: I don’t know yet.  Tomorrow morning.  I want to die in my area.  
Kai: Are you going to get food there? 
Chad: Yes, I get a lot of food here.  Chicken, rice, greasy oily food.  They take things here and cook it in oil then fry it in oil.  Then give it to you.  
M: Lexi wants to know, Have you taught any kids my age? 
Chad: No… um.  How old is she???  I’m teaching an 8 year old girl right now.  I have taught some kids her age.  
Tyler: Towards the end of your mission.  What things do you do personally to not get trunky (sorry, BAGGY)? 
Chad: It helps if you have a lot of people to teach.  We’ve had some baptisms and more in January.  That’s th best thing.  That’s why I don’t want changes.  I just want to stay and baptize them.     
M: Which companion have you clicked with the most?
Chad: Elder Markum.  He’s my best friend.  I still write him every week.  I love my companion now.  He’s pretty cool. 
M: Think about any companions that you’d maybe like to room with for Fallat BYU.   Dave, get the selfie stick.  
Bean: I have a question.  A few months ago, did you feel the earthquake.?
Chad: I was sitting eating lunch.  I thought my companion was moving the table with his feet.  My glass was going to fall over.  Someone screams really loud “There’s an earthquake!” and I realized that it was one.  It was kind of anti climatic.  I thought a wall would crash.  But, we’ve had a couple of earthquakes that I’ve felt actually.  
M: Breanna’s the one that told us about it on Thanksgiving.  Then your mission pres posted and said that everything was fine 
Chad: Yeah, it wasn’t too serious.  
David What kind of food do you want when you get home? 
Chad: Chicken enchiladas, sea food, smoked ribs.  I have a large list.  
Mom: When was the last time you spoke in church.
Chad: like 5 weeks ago.  I spoke a lot more in my last ward.  This ward, I've only spoke one time. 
Mom Do you have to teach a lot last minute?
Chad: Yeah, I usually do. 
Mom: What kind of things do you want to bring home?
Chad: I don’t know.  There’s like your typical picture of El Salvador that you see all the time.  But, there's a few things that I'm sure I'll bring home.  I'll probably gather a few things in January.
Mom: So you guys all got my a nativity from El Salvador for Christmas.  
Chad: Oh, Cool! 
Mom: How do they celebrate Christmas there different from here? 
Chad: Christmas here.. They eat make these things.  There's like lettuce and mayo and cheese and stuff.  I ate like 12 last night.  They have firecrackers. They do those in the street.  It’s a mix between fourth of july and new years.  They do it at midnight.   They all sleep in and not go to church the next day.   
Tyler: Same in Chili.  
Kevin: Yep.  All night long. 
Mom: How was the mission party?  The shirt looked cool. 
Chad: they took a bunch of pictures and put you in the front.  They are kind of ugly. But, yeah they're cool.  For the party we just played a bunch of games.  
Mom: Which scripture prophet do you quote most often? 
Chad: Right now I like to teach about Nephi.  And Isaiah.  And Paul.  
Mom: whose house do you enjoy spending time at the most?  
Chad: Where we eat at a lot.  They are a great family.  They have like 12 kids.  A few are on a mission.  Married and some younger.
Mom: Do they support you a lot?  
Chad: They do everything for us. 
Mom: How do the bishops support you? 
Chad: The bishop we have now does.  He does a lot of activities.  Most bishops we have served with haven't done much.   
Kevin: if you were speaking to a bishop, what would you ask him to do? 
Chad: Biggest frustrating thing is in ward council when they don’t talk about investigators.  It’s supposed to be about families and investigators.  When it’s just planning for activities and stuff it’s lame.  We just sit there.  But, when they talk about families that need help and stuff.  That’s the best thing.  It doesn’t really happen for us.  
Mom: Anyone you want to connect with before you leave? 
Chad: Most of them are here.  A few but they are far away.  
(Chad speaking Spanish to his companion… really fast.) 
Mom: I love hearing you speak Spanish. 
Mom: Is the town used to your blonde hair running around? 
Chad: they all make fun of me.  People in the street shout things at me.  I’m used to it now. 
Mom: I can always pick you out in pictures.  
Chad: I’m so white.  I just burn.  I haven’t gotten my tan yet. 
Mom: Do you have a lot of snow right now Breanna? 
B: Just that one big one.  That’s all so far.  
Mom: Anybody a question???  Any other stories you want to tell us? 
Chad:  No, I’ll tell you stories in person. 
Mom: You have to tell stories in your talk and bear your testimony is Spanish. … 
Tyler: Do you have a mission focus?  A mission scripture?  For example, on my mission, we had a focus to use the Book of Mormon mostly.  
Chad: We use the book of Mormon and bear testimony of it.  But not necessarily a focus.  We use the BOM a lot just so people can learn about it.  But, we use all scripture often. 
Tyler: Have you run into different denomination preachers who have torn in to you? 
Chad: Yeah, quite a few times they go at you with the bible.  But, we just slowly walk out all cool looking.  When I see people starting to fight, I just turn off the conversation.  But, I defend myself if I have to.  
Tyler: Do they have the people on corners that shout into microphones? Sometimes opposing churches on different corners yelling at each other.  
Chad: Yep totally.  
Tyler: Cool that sounds like fun. 
Kevin: I know your mission pres isn’t from the US. But has your mission president started to prepare you for coming back? I just wondered what kind of advice he’s given you. 
Chad: I haven’t talked to him about it much.  It’s bad here too, most RM’s go inactive within a year.  A lot are 30 years old and just don’t do anything.  It’s pretty bad here. 
Kevin: Just keep the faith. 
Chad: Oh, I will.  
M: Ecclesiastical endorsement? 
Chad: When we get into January, I”ll make sure he’s done it.  
M: Great.  As soon as you can.  Thank you.  
Navy: Hi Chad! (waves) 
Chad: Hi Navy!  Heey!! 
Dad: She can’t wait to meet you for the first time. 
Mom: We can’t wait.  We are so excited for that day.  Any questions for us?
Chad: No.  
Dad: Will you leave all your clothes there when you come home? 
Chad: Yeah, probably.  They are all torn and everything.  I don’t need them anymore. 
Mom: We’ll take you when you get home and get you everything you need.  Everyone asks about you.  People you don’t even really know really.  But, it is fun.  
Dad: you never told me what phone you wanted when you get home? 
Chad: new iphone. 
Mom: not the new one! 
Chad: I’ve waited two years mom.  I want a good one. 
Mom: we’ll get you one on sale... not the brand new one.  Right dad? 
Dad: I don’t know. 
Chad: We’ll talk about this when I get home.  I have 15 minutes.  
Mom: What’s your housing there? 
Chad: It’s a house.  We rent a house.  It’s smaller.  Cement and brick.  We have running water about 35% of the time.  I shower with a bucket of water. 
Mom: You’ll appreciate a nice warm shower.  
Chad: Houses here are.. the roofs are made of sheet metal.  They heat up and when it rains they make a lot of noise.  It gets really hot.  
Mom: Is it rainy season right now? 
Chad: No, though it rained today. 
Dad: How do you get to the airport? 
Chad: From my house to the airport?  The airport is about an hour away in San Salvador.  The taxi will take us everywhere we’ll need to go.  The last day we’ll spend a whole day with the mission president and go to the temple.  We spend the day in the mission pres. home.  There is four of us going home to the states.  And 2 latinos that are going home with me.  A few others are going home a few weeks earlier for studies or something.  
Dad: When you speak it will probably be with a high counselor.  
Chad: Make me speak last. 
Mom: We’ll get it figured out.  
Dad: Yeah.. about your room… 
Tyler: Dad turned it into a shell reloading station…. 
Mom: Seriously, that’s not far off.  We tried to preserve your corner.  
Tyler: That corner has gotten smaller and smaller.  Hahaha. 
Chad: But I was kind of worried I wouldn’t have anything to say.  So I prepared something for you guys.  (Pulls out a white binder and we all laugh.) I wrote a poem for you guys… I hope that's not weird..  I wrote this last night at like 12 in the morning.  Can you hear me well?  Because this is pretty fantastic and I want you to be able to hear it all. 

Here in El Salvador, 
Another Christmas is here.
It’s not the first time talking to my family
Let’s hope this time I don’t shed any tears. 
For 22 months, I have been on my mission.
I have seen ups and downs, miracles and blessings.
I have really tried to take seriously my commission,
I love this country and its people.  They are a sight to see. 
But a lot of people have died here.  Sorry mom,  I don't think you'll be coming back to visit with me. 
The food here in wonderful, but the grease and oil abounds. 
The papusas are so tasty; I’m sure you'll have noticed when you've seen I've gained all these pounds. 
I have learned a lot of things here since at this country I came,
I have come to love and worship my Savior,
Oh the joy it brings to preach and (prepare?) His name. 
A lot at home has changed.  My siblings have married.
That's all in the past.  Looks like I'm the only one single left.
I'm guessing you all have bets to see how long that will last.
There are now a lot of little kids walking all around.
Lexi and Kai, Navy and Evelyn.  Mom, your grandkids sure make a lot of funny sounds.
Well, I am running out of rhymes.  And I soon have to go.
It's been a pleasure talking to you guys.  But, wait Mom, listen up.  There's one thing you should know. 
…. (We run out of phone storage and have to run grab another phone.  We miss a few lines, but then…)
… But there's one thing I get to be the one to tell you. 
That Jessie is pregnant and you're going to... (can't hear the rest because of mom's screaming..)

(Chad and Jessie worked together for a month before the Christmas call to have it be a surprise for mom and dad.  Success.) 

Chad: My time is about up.  Yay.  See you soon! 
All: Bye!  We love you!!  See you soon!! 

Chad: Okay, here I go.. 3, 2, 1.  Bye!