Tuesday, March 31, 2015

1 Month in the CCM!

Hey Guys!!! 1 Month down can you believe it?!!!! Sometimes i feel like I've been here for years and other days I fell like I just arrived. You are now currently talking to the Oldest and most experiences group of missionaries in the CCM! Thats crazy. The other elders in the group just above us left this morning and it was sad to see them go. Four of them i had roomed with since I got here and I got really close with them and plan on seeing them when I get home. A couple of the Elders and Hermanas that I was really close to will be serving in the Santa Ana mision which is right next to mine so I hope I can see them out there even though it is unlikely. Anyways I am super excited for this General COnference weekened as long as Easter Weekend. How great is it that we will be able to hear from living prophets of the Lord guiding and directing us in this day. We were supposed to go out today and try to place some Book of Mormons at the main market but there is a travel warning for USA travelers here right now because i guess weekend can get pretty crazy. Mom and Dad I cant believe you guys are in Germany! That sounds like so much fun I bet you guys are having the time of your life. Make sure you share all the good stories when I get back because i will want to hear. THe work here is coming along good the Spanish is still hard and I am no where near where I want to be but I am getting better. Today me and Elder Putnam went to the distribution center and these girls came up and starting speaking to us in Spanish and I could not understand a thing they were saying. But I guess I just have to get used to hearing it being spoken fast which is how it is in the feild. Oh yeah I had an awesome experience this week. So we had a few less active investigators come in and my teacher felt like me and my companion should go teach them a lesson. I was so nervous i was basically shaking because I knew natives were hard to understand and my spanish is still very broken but they insisted we go. When we went to teach him he was super nice and told us he was an ex missionary. When we asked him about church he said life got hard and he learned he had to rely on himself and not God so he stopped going to Church. I felt prompted I should share a verse and I actually wasnt really sure what the verse was but I decided to pull it out anyways and it was the verse in Ether on receiving a witness of your faith after you show you have it. He paused and in broken English, because he wanted to make sure we would understand what he said, he told us we were going to be great missionaries and this was exactly what he needed. The spirit flooded the room and brought tears to my eyes and I felt a joy unlike anything I have ever felt before. I know that bringing others unto the Gospel
and living the commandments of the Lord is the joy and direction we all search in our life. The feeling was so pure and joyous I knew I could feel the Love of God for us. I want nothing more than for everyone than to live and share the gospel in such a way that they can feel and live with these feelings for the rest of their lives. I am super excited to leave for EL Salvador in two weeks and preach Salvation and Eternal Life unto these great and humble people in Central America. Anyways I really am ready to leave the CCM. I am sick
of sitting in classes all day but know there is still some i need to learn. These past two weeks have honestly gone by so fast it feels like Its been a couple days. That makes me anxious and excited because I hear these next two weeks go by just as fast and before I know it I will be loading on a bus full of Latinos at three in the morning and be heading into the field I have been called to serve. Seeing Elders and Hermanas that I loved leave the morning and wishing them luck until we reunite reminded me of how this work can be hard at times but our sadness was short lived as we remembered what we have been called by a Prophet of the Lord to do.  We are preaching the most important message on the face of the Earth. A message that can allow us to live with our heavenly father and families for eternity and it has been entrusted into my hands as a 19 year old. Thats insane and humbling that the Lord has that kind of trust in me. Well, there isn't much more to say now because things are mostly the same everyday but I thank you all for the prayers and wishes on my behalf. I really do feel so blessed. One more write home after this and then the next time you hear from me after that I will be in the field. The new Nortes and Latinos come in tomorrow morning and I hope they are cool becuase I am going to most likely have to share a room with a couple. Love and Miss You all and hope all is going well down there.
  (P.S. I heard One Direction had broken up. I actually am slightly torn up about it.)

Elder Nelson

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Week 3 in the MTC!

Hey Everyone! so its my third week here and that means we are now halfway done with the CCM. I couldn't be more excited to go out in the field even though my Spanish is very limited. I am already losing my English which actually makes me happy because it means that my Spanish is starting to become more a part of me. The days are mostly the same here but the Elders in my district have a good time none the less (we have to so we don't go insane). Ive gotten really close with Elder Forsyth who goes to BYUI as well as Elder Steiner who is from Scottsdale and attends BYU Provo although he is a little older and doesnt have much schooling left after the mission. My companion is awesome. I know I dont talk about him a lot but we get along very well and have a good time. He is from Idaho and has awesome farm boy stories that entertain me for days. The new Elders and Latinos are pretty cool although I do really miss the ones that left last week. Anyways we got to go to the temple agin today and SURPRISE the whole thing was in Spanish for us because we had to go an hour later than the other Nortes so that was quite the experience. Despite the whole time not knowing for sure what was happening due to the language barrier the Spirit breaks through all barriers of language, culture, anything and I loved being there. The investigators we teach are progressing well. One of them named Gabriel is starting to listen to more of our messages for him but we still are having trouble getting him to read and pray about the Book of Mormon so that is the goal for the week. We had a devotional on Sunday and Hermana Providence spoke. She was a convert from around here and she gave one of the greatest testimonies on our call to preach to the Lamanites here on the Earth today. It was awesome to think I am closer to teaching the real life descendants of the Lamanites here on the Earth today and there is new meaning now when I read the stories en the Libro de Mormon because it all applies directly to me. We also listened to a really good devotional by Elder Holland on the atonement and missionary work. He gave it in 2006 and his testimony and view on the atonement was one of the most powerful I have ever heard and really opened my eyes to my purpose here on this Earth. I dont have super awesome stories yet due to the fact that we cant leave the CCM hardly ever except when we go to the temple and are escorted by guards armed with shotguns but despite that this place is awesome. I wish I could explore more of the country side.  Thats mostly all I have to say this week but Id like to end with my testimony of the truthfulness of the Gospel. The fullness of the Gospel has without a doubt been restored to us through a living prophet. THe book of Mormon is evidence of this and if you dont know for certain this is true I urge you with all my heart to read and ponder and pray to God asking for the truthfulness of the words it contains and I promise you will recieve an answer through the Spirit. Three weeks into my mission has already changed my life in ways I wish everybody can experience. Like the Book of Mormon heroes, the Sons of Mosiah, the thought of anybody not having the happiness and peace that comes with the Gospel is painful to the soul. I Love what I am doing and cant wait to serve the people of El Salvador.

P.S. if you want to make me a happy Elder actual letters are better than life itself here even if I dont always have the time to write back.                                        

With Love, Elder Nelson

Tuesday, March 17, 2015

Week 2 in the MTC + Pictures!!

  So this week has been quite the ride. i dont really know what to say or how to say it. First off i want to talk about last week a little. I feel more comfortable talking about it now that I am not right in the middle of it. It was by far the hardest thing I have ever done in my life. I would be lying if i said I didnt think about coming home at least a couple times, and i know i am not the only one here that feels that way. A lot of Elders have been having a hard time here with the Language and the expectations and the homesickness. Nothing more than the strength brought from the Spirit of the Lord as well as our dedication to not give up kept us going. Now that i am two weeks in, it is still hard but I am a lot more comfortable with it.  
  We had a new investigator this week and his name was Gabriel. He was super catholic and wanted nothing to do with us. It was probably the hardest leasson i have ever taught. Even if i could speak in English I think it would have been near impossible so i just bore my testimony of the Restoration of the Gospel and we are gonna regroup and try to visit him again later this week. 
  On sunday we had a lesson on the health and saftey rules and expectations for our mission. Now i know there are people that love me that read this, one of them being my mother.... so i will spare the details and it sufficeth me to say.... please pray for me. Hahah no but really we really take for granted the things and privileges we have in the US. I got to have a glimpse into what my life will be like the next two years in the hot and humid El Salvador and i was fearful for my life at some times and cant imagine having to deal with that everyday. the people here really are quite remarkable. But I am not overly worried because I know and have been testified to that if i am exactly obedient to the will of the Lord and rules of my mission President I will be protected. Im not saying nothing will happen to me but i know i will be watched over and I am excited to serve. 
   The oldest Nortes left early this morniong as well as the Latinos and it was really sad to see them go. I had gotten close to them these two weeks. Tomorrow the new nortes will arrive, there will be about 18 of them which is a lot, and probably 30 or 40 Latinos so i look forward to that . Elder Matatui who just left to Hondurus was my Zone leader so as District leader i worked a lot with him. he is an awesome dude and it was sad to see him go. As district leader basically i just have to sit through meetings that I understand almost nothing in because its all in Spanish and then lead and help my district. Ill try to attach a picture of both my district which is about 12 of us and then our zone.  The MTC is a little bit less than double the people you will see in the Zone picture in case you were wondering about how big it is here. 
   Anyways we had the chance to go to the Temple again this morning and i absolutely love it. The spirit was so strong there because we got up at 530 to go and because of that sacrifrice I truly believe the Lord blessed us to feel his Love even more than usual. I want to thank you all for you prayers and support. There have been times I have felt almost physically lifted from the faith and love of family and friends when i felt too tired, too inadequate and too weak to do the Lords work. The days here are long, working nonstop from 630 till 1030. with no breaks except to eat and an hour to workout. 
   I miss all of you back home still very much and think of you guys often but I know this is where I need to be. I testify with all my heart that if you get on your knees and pray with all your might and do it all the time you can you can actually accomplish anything and everything that is set in front of you. This week has gone by a lot better though. Guatemala City is actually in the mountains about the same elvation as Salt Lake City so although it is hot and humid is it bearable. However i did talk to a Hermana that was the doctor for the El Salvador area and she said it was 10 times more hot and humid so i am enjoying it will i can. We have been given a lot of lessons of how to purify water and food because apparently they have been having a lot of problems with contaminated food and water with deceases, bacteria, worms and who know what else. I also had to get a couple more shots and due to my intense hatred and fear of getting shots appartently i looked like i was about to pass out so President Cox made sure to give me a hard time about that. 
   Well i think that is all for this week. once again I thank you all for the love and support. I testify that Christ lives and completed the Atonement for us. I know the The gospel of Jesus Christ was restored through a living prophet Joseph Smith. I know that this gospel can bless our families and our lives without measure and i know anyone can feel of this love and blessing in their lives by studying and praying about the book of Mormon and asking God if what you read and study is true everytime you read it. Till next week. 

Elder Nelson

Elder Nelson's District

Elder Nelson's Zone.  

"The MTC is a little bit less than double the people you will see in the Zone picture in case you were wondering about how big it is here."

Tuesday, March 10, 2015

Week 1 in the MTC

HELLO Family and All! As im sure guys now know my p-days are on Tuesday for at least this week and next until the new Norte missionarys come in. So the CCM is pretty cool. there are a lot of ups and downs. The first night or two that i was here I will be honest I was really homesick and stuggling with the launguage but now it is going a lot better. My companion is Elder Putnam and he is a great missionary. He has been really struggling with the language though and not until the last day or so has he picked up basic spanish so I have had to teach a lot of the lessons with little help. This was hard but it has improved my Spanish in the long run. So there are about 30-40 Nortes, thats what the call english missionaries, and 50 or 60 Latino Elders. The latinos love to talk to us and help us with our Spanish which makes the learning process a lot easier because you are always speaking Spanish no matter where you are. We went to the temple today across the street and it was the first time we left the gates since we arrived. it was an awesome experience and i cant wait to go back next week. The second day we were here we already had an investigator and we had to teach a lesson all in Spanish! it was very rough with a lot of awkward staring but the lessons have slowely gotten better as we have had 2 or 3 lessons with Jamie our invertigator. The food here is pretty good but it can be hit or miss. There is only one other Elder in the CCM that is going to San Salvador Este with me and that is Elder Blanchard. I have met some latinos though here from EL Salvador and when they hear I am going there they scream stuff in Spanish to me about how awesome it is or something I really am not sure what they are saying most of time.  yesterday I was able to teach some Latino missionaries that only spoke Spanish to practice and i thought it went really well. they were able to communicate with me and i could talk decent to them. Afterwards they bore their testimony to us and asked to pray with me and my companion so right there in the middle of the CCM we all 4 knelt down and prayed and God blessed me to be able to understand completely the most beautiful and humble prayer I have ever heard from the latino Elder. Then they asked me to pray and I was blessed with the Don de Lenguas as I was able to express my feelings in prayer beyond my language compacity. Afterwards the Latino Elders said they would kneel and pray together every night for us to be helped and blessed with the Gift of Toungues and I almost broke into tears the spirit was so strong. This place truely is amazing and I am so lucky to be one of about 30 English speaking elders in the world to be here in Guatamala. I was made District Leader the second day I got here. I try my very best to serve and improve my district as best I can. President Cox our CCM pres is an old funny guy with a great spirit and I already love him. Last Sunday was awesome. we had a break from the normal classes and had sacrament in Spanish and then everything else in English and it was probably one of the most spiritual days I have ever had.  Oh yeah today I was talkling to an Elder from Honduras and an Elder from EL Salvador and the Honduras Elder told me he had a cousin serving in EL Salvador. He told me that last week for dinner with a member they were served Donkey reproductive parts and that that was common down there since they were poor so I have that to look forward to..... but seriosuly I am so excited to be here and even more excited to go serve in El Salvador in five weeks. Right now we are those new white guys in the building but I already feel like I have been here for months. The days are long but looking back the weeks are short and time flies and i consider that a great blessing to lose yourself in the work. Well so much has gone on this week but honestly that is all i can think of to say at this moment. Mom i apologize but they dont let cameras in the CCM so you wont get any pictures for a bit. THey push us really hard here and the teachers after the second day speak only in Spanish and act like they dont understand anything we say in English. Sometimes I feel frustrated that i cant communicate the feelings of my heart to my investigators but I have learned to trust the Spirit to teach the investigator the things that my vocabulary lacks. I hope everything is going great and i miss you guys lot. Some days are hard, some are terrible, some are good, some are long, some are the best days of my life. Thats how missionary work is and i wouldnt have it any other way. Well, maybe hot showers would be nice. I do miss those. Anyways love you all! 

Wednesday, March 4, 2015

First Email!!!

Hey Mom and family! i just got to the mtc here in Guatemala. We arrived at about seven in the morning after flying through the night and we didnt get much sleep. It is apparently a cool day here but it is still hot and humid. I havent gotten my companion or anything. i just had a quick opportunity to write and tell you guys i got here. There were about 9 Elders and sisters on my flight here so I was able to find my ride easily. The country here is beautiful in the short drive we took from the airport in a rickety old bus. btw the keyboard is a spanish keyboard so it is getting some taking used to. Thats all I got for now I will email again when my P Day comes around. Love you all!

Tuesday, March 3rd -- Leaving to Guatemala

(Photo Credit: Mom's Instagram)

After being set apart on Monday evening, Elder Nelson had his last 24 hours at home to prepare sit and wait.  Mom and Dad took him to the airport Tuesday around 6:00p and he was off!