25 September 2013

One month

Familia! Oh how I love you!
How are all of you?? Thank you for your emails and thank you to NATALIE for the first handwritten letter!! Woot woot!! She even included a beautiful piece of artwork. The bar is set high. ;) Thank you so much for the emails though. I am LOVING reading them!!
This week was Crazy!! FUn! Crazy! and humbling.
Friday we went to get some of our visa paperwork worked out... it was fun to drive into downtown Lima! Beautiful city! Then we talked to a few people while we were there and shared a message about Christ with a guy that was in line with us. It was a very cool experience.
Saturday. Procelyting! Ugh. Good. But this time was way harder. We only visited less active members in the area. It was difficult because I felt like their hearts weren´t as open to hearing our message as much as random people that were more seeking it out. It was a really good learning experience, but difficult. Luckily we had a teacher and a member with us. I did better speaking moer this time, but it was still hard to understand people a lot. Even though I didn´t always understnad people´s whole story, there was a common feeling I had in each lesson... That was that God loves each of us so much and wants us to truly be happy. That was actually a common theme of the week. Let me explain...
Sunday was a little weird. I wasn´t on my spiritual high as much as I usually am and that was getting me down a little. Things were annoying me more than usual. I knew that I needed to change something. I read an article in the Ensign about expressing thanks to Heavenly Father, then I happen to read a few scriptures about the same thing... then I heard a devotional by Elder Richard G. Scott about conversing with our Heavenly Father and expressing our gratitude to him. Well, if that wasn´t a slap in the face, I don´t know what is. I decided to start that night and all ofMonday only thanking Heavenly Father for things rather than asking for blessings. As I did that, my day, attitude, and EVERYTHING changed. I found so many opportunities to serve as I forgot about myself and focused on being grateful. Sunday afternoon, my companion and I were called to be the new Sister Leaders in our Zone. That has been such a blessing. I have grown to love so many of the girls and found great opportunities to serve them in the past two days.
There is a girl in our zone that has been under a lot of stress from day 1. Her sister has meningitis and had to get brain surgery. The prognosis was sketchy and they didn´t know what was going to happen. She can only get updates once a week through email, so you can imagine how stressful that would be. We saw her walking outside with her companions (they are in a trio) just crying. So we looked at each other and knew that we hsould go talk to her. As we sat down to talk with her, I felt so incredibly humbled. She sacrificed SO MUCH to be on a mission, yet she is so incredibly strong. She is the most positive, happy, and has an incredible spirit with her always. She is an inspiration. Her companion shared with us that she lost her brother recently in an ATV accident and how she knows that he is with her in spirit helping her serve. After talking to them, I just cried! I realized how aware Heavenly Father is of each of us. He knows exactly our strengths, weaknesses, challenges, and joys. He knows what we need. I don´t feel like I was prompted to go talk to Hermana Burgraff because she needed my help, but because I needed to hear her powerful testimony. I am constantly reminded of the love that Heavenly Father has for each of us. We all were given specific trials according to our own strengths and weaknesses... they are made to make us stronger.
I have learned a lot about charity. The minute I started forgetting abotu what blessing I needed and what I wanted, I felt the spirit. My comp and I are focusing on being more Charitable this week. We have been writing anonymous notes to a few girls that we feel need it everyday. Just a short note on a hot pink sticky note and a scripture we feel like they might need. It has been so fun. I realized the importance of charity more when I read the scripture (in mosiah I think) saying that what we do to others is like doing it unto God. Or something like that. It´s good. Look it up.
The Book of Mormon is true. Heavenly Father is truly our loving Father in Heaven and knows what we need. Trust in him and ask him for help! Or just thank him! You´ll be amazed at what happens.
I have a really funny story. REALLY FAST: The older district played a nice prank on us. 2 of the Elders (Zone leaders) came in our room and told us that the President is really mad. That some bad things happened while procelyting that day and that some of the people in our district were mentioned. They told us to just wait and read our scriptures until the president came in to talk to us. Then two other elders came in, shakign and basically in tears. Told us to get out our handbooks and turn to the page about relationships with other missionaries. We were freaking out!!! I have never seen our disrtict more reverant in my life. We were all racking our brains to think of what we could have possibly done wrong. We all thought we were going home. Then all of a suddent their whole district runs in singing ´´We wish you a merry Christmas´´!! We died. It was so hilarious!!! Itá a tradition here that a Christmas tree is passed on to the next best district in the CCM. I guess we got picked. Oh man, it was good. Can´t wait to plan what were going to do to the next District. I´m taking suggestions for the prank... Brian?
Thank you for all your support and advice. Brian, Thanks for your advice about not getting over confident or too doscouraged about the language. Definietly realized the importance of that on Saturday proceltying.
I love you and miss you so much!!
Hermana Nelson

17 September 2013

Week 3

Bill Nye The Science Guy

Y'all ready? Another great week in the CCM! Here´s the highlights:

1. LATINAS: All of my roommates went on to the big world and we got 4 new LATINO roommates! They are hilarious. I can´t understand a lot of what they say, but we make it work. They teach us Spanish, and we teach them English. Every night we play the ´´Como se dice...´´ (How do you say...?) game. One girl tries to teach us slang and the others tell us not to say the things she teaches us! Oh what fun. They are helping my spanish a lot! I showed them my calendar of family pics and they loved it! I learned how to say niece and cousins in spanish!

2. MI MAESTRO: I am convinced I have the best teacher at the CCM, Hermano Bejar. We had a stress class last week where we all brought our pillows into the classroom and screamed into our pillows hahahah. We had a great lesson on focus the next day with him. We were paired up with another companionship and told to teach them a lesson on anything. So we started and then two girls from our district started going around and saying really sad, mean, and discouraging things in our hears while we were teaching. They said things like, ´´You´re spanish is terrible! Why are you even here? No one is listening to you! They can´t understand what you´re saying... wouldn´t you rather be hanging out with your family?´´ It was EXTREMELY hard to focus. And although I know they were just acting, it brought all our spirits down a bit for that short time. After, we went back in the classrooom and had all ten of us teach him. We all were so focused on HIM and had nothing distracting us. It was amazing. The moral of the story? You can probably guess, but it was about being focused. When we are distracted by discouraging thoughts, temptation, or focusing too much on our own wants/needs, then we can´t get anything done. It was a cool lesson
Also, Hermano Bejar acts as a fake investigator for us to teach a few times a week. His fake name is Marcos. Yesterday, we were teaching him about the commandments and Word of Wisdom (drinking, smoking, coffee etc.) and we brought a ´´member´´ (really just an elder from our district). He bore his testimony about how he used to smoke 30 cigs a day... it was really funny because he´s a missionary actually... ha get it? (i´m starting to realize how things are a lot more funny here than they will be to you guys). Then I assigned Marcos a scripture to read before our next lesson and then realized he didn´t have scriptures so I just gave him mine, and said ´´for you!´´. He said, ´´Oh thank you!´´ and proceeded to find a pen and write his name in the front cover of my scriptures hahaha. We were all trying to refrain from busting up laughing. So I will forever remember Marcos, the fake investigator I had in the MTC.

3. SUNDAY. Obvi. Always the best day ever. It was stake conference... which means ALL OF PERU was watching a broadcast from SLC. Elder Scott and Bednar spoke! Scott gave an amazing talk on treating women well and helping women realize their divine nature and individual worth. I loved it. It reminded me a lot of the experiences I had in Africa with the horrible treatment of women. I know I will see that a lot in Peru. It made me think a lot about one of the reasons I wanted to serve a mission. I know that the gospel is the only thing that can truly make me happy and change lives. ´´The gospel can change behavior better than the study of behavior can change behavior´´... A paraphrased quote from Preach my Gospel. Then we watched a MTC devo from Holland. Oh wow. Always a good day when you hear from Holland. He is such a powerful speaker... sometimes a little startling, but dang good. He talked about the mission changing our lives. I think I have tried to ingrane in my brain that the mission is not for me, but for the people I will serve, when in reality, it is for me too. I should expect to change. I should WANT to change and go home not wanting to just quickly go back to ´´normal´´. He said ´´Don´t EVER EVER EVER go back to what you were before.´´ I really loved that message. He said everyone expects us missionaries to be perfect and work really really really hard... ¨don´t let us down´´, he said. No pressure, right? These messages just made me realize even more why I want to be here and how excited I am to see the changes in other people´s life as well as y life.
The Dear Elder thing takes at least 3 weeks to get here, so not a good way to go. Spread the word. Our mail box is pretty empty. But It might be better to mail letters to my cusco mission home bc I don´t know how long it will take.

I haven´t recieved any letters from Tiger yet. Hm. Just sayin.

Bill Nye the science guy is on dancing with the stars Yeah, I totally know all the hot gossip.

Love you all SOOO MUCH!

Con Amor,
Hermana Nelson

Our whole district at the temple!
Kids going to CUSCO
Everyone switched cameras for the day and took pics... this one was one of teh gems i found on my camera today haha


Pictures From Week 2

11 September 2013

Week 2

Week 2 sounds WAYYY too short. I feel like I have been here FOREVER, yet this week has gone by so fast! I can't handle the time warp I am in here at the MTC.
This week was so good. I have very little time because I have the greatest family and friends in the world and I recieved LOTS of emails this week!! Go you if you are one of those amazing people! If not, I still love you.
Here are the highlights:
1. District Bonding. Our district has made such great strides in our unity. We had an amazing little spiritual bonding moment last Saturday. We were all just sitting on the floor in our classroom sharing thoughts, feelings, and experiences that prepared us or lead us to going on a mission. Our distric leader is amazing. I won't tell his whole story, but he has come a long way and overcome some great things to be here serving a mission today. It makes me believe so much in the Lord's timing. I know I was supposed to be on a mission right now, at this MTC with this District. I know I will only see more evidences of the Lord's perfect timing throughout my mission.
2. Proselyting. Yeah that´s right folks. This girl went out into the big world and taught the little peruvians. Holy cow it was amazing! We were paired with different companions. Hna. Tomlison and I went to our first door and this young girl (15 years) answered. As we talked to her and tried to share our message in the best spanish we could, she would just start randomly laughing! Like histerically laughing!! Then I would just start laughing! Then my comp... and we're all just standing there laughing our heads off! It was so bizzare but so funny. We did have a great experience later that day. We approached a lady standing outside her shop. She was super interested in what we were sharing about the Book of Mormon. She pulled up two stools for us to sit at to teach her more. We were not speaking great spanish by any means, but I could feel and I know she could feel the spirit so strongly. She kept saying how interesting she was. I bore my testimony to her and told her how much the gospel has blessed my life. She said she would read the book of mormon, go to church, and meet with the missionaries. It was incredible. I know that it was definitely NOT our teaching skills or language that brought her to feel that. She felt the spirit and the spirit told her what she was hearing was true. It truly was an incredible experience and a testimony builder that the most important thing in teaching people about the gospel is having the spirit with us. As hard as it to believe sometimes, I know that the spanish will come. We preach the words, but the spirit teaches. That principle became so true to me during that experience.
3. UNITY. Just a little something I discovered this week. In 3 Nephi 2:14-19 it talks about how the Lamanites and Nephites were able to overcome more as they became one. I loved that and feel like I can apply that to so many things... my district, companion, family... etc. We have to be united in order to be successful. If we aren´t united, we won´t accomplish nearly as many things. Just some food for thought. I am so grateful to have such a great family. I read everyone's testimony that you all wrote to me and it was so amazing to see how strong you all are. I am so grateful for your examples and continued support of me going on a mission.
I loved loved loved loved loved... loved. loved. the emails this week. Thank you! Our mailbox has been quite empty since we´ve been here... just sayin. I love emails and letters and appreciate it all!! I love you and miss you all so much! I wish I could write more, but you wouldn't believe how fast an hour goes by when that's all you have.
Con Amor,
Hermana Nelson

03 September 2013

First week.

Side note:
don't send packages to MTC. We can't get them here. it takes 2 weeks to get and send letters.
Hola familia! Mi nombre es Hermana Nelson. Soy es una missionera de la Iglesia de Jesucristo de los Santos de los ultimos dias. Soy un sirviente de Jesucristo!
How´s my spanish? Yeah, you like?
Thank you all SOO much for the emails! I wanted to cry when I opened up my email. Then I actually did start crying when the internet went out and some guy who I could barely understand told us we would have to come back tomorrow. Yeah. I flipped. I realized how much I love you guys at that moment. And how much I love slash hate emails. But mostly love so keep them coming!
The MTC is amazing here! It's a TON smaller than Provo, so we get to know each other a lot better. I have four other hermanas and four Elders in my district. There are a lot of sisters here! They are pretty much all younger than me. It´s a little weird. Some just graduated high school. I feel like a grandma sometimes, but we are all on the same level here at the MTC and all very new to this whole missionary thing, so esta bien (it´s good). I am adjusting to having a person by my side 24/7. My companion´s name is Hermana Burrell. She is really sweet! The companionships are def inspired, because every companionship is so perfect. We are similar in a lot of ways and are both excited to get to work. I love her! Each room has six girls in it. My roommates are way loco! In a good way. They are a ton of fun. Almost too much fun. Most nights we end up playing would you rather (...have a nose for a bum, or a bum for a nose?) or talking about everyone´s illness... la siempres or nuncas. I´ll let whoever knows spanish figure that one out. When we arrived here, most the missionaries were sick because of stomach bug that was going around. They had to wear masks to prevent the spread. Yes, even in Peru they have Public Health. It was the talk of the MTC this week. Hence the siempres or nuncas...
The language. Yes, it´s crazy. Not sure what I´m saying or what everyone else is saying. Our teachers only speak spanish. However, I am really surprised at how much I can understand! I can understand everything that they are saying to us... maybe not every word, but I understand concepts. They are also really really good at teaching! They speak slowly and use a lot of expression so it helps us understand what they are saying. I don´t know how I would be able to do this if I had any other purpose than serving a mission and sharing the gospel. El don del lenguas es muy verdadero! (The gift of tongues is very real!) One of our teachers, Hermano Bajar... Oh he is hilarious! We have this joke at the MTC... the americans decided to translate the phrase "What in the world?!". It doesn't make sense in spanish, but we all say it anyway... "Que en el mundo?!". Bajar is just so expressive and fun, yet he knows how to bring the spirit to any lesson. He stresses the importance of not stressing about the language, but focusing on increasing your testimony and most importantly, having the spirit with you. Es MUY importante!!
Sunday. The bomb dot com. Holy cow. It was an incredible day. It was fast and testimony meeting. The spirit here and peace I feel here is already incredible, but hearing the testimonies of so many missionaries, their stories and struggles, was the greatest thing ever. I realized that day that I am becoming really emotional. There´s no hope in holding any tears back here. I think my heart is just more easily touched by things now... if that makes any sense. One Elder bore his testimony and mentioned that he left his Mom, knowing that she would die of cancer while he is gone. Wow. Yes, I started bawling. Talk about sacrifice. My roommate bore her testimony about a talk she heard a few weeks back... the speaker said (I'm paraphrasing here), "Do you know why you can´t call your family? Or why you can´t go home for Christmas? It´s because Christ left his Father to come and serve us." That really struck me. I have never thought of it like that. Not talking to you guys all the time is hard. It´s only been a week! But I know that it is a sacrifice and the more I lose myself in the work, the easier it will be. Not to forget about you, but to just become more focused on the people, rather than my desires. We watched a Devotional that Elder Bednar gave at the Provo MTC on Christmas a few years ago. He said we need to stop being like the cookie monster saying, "ME WANT COOKIE NOOOWWW!!!" He said this work isn´t about US. It is not about what we want. It is the Lord´s work and we need to go according to His timing. He talked about how we should focus on coming to know Christ and becoming like him by "putting of the nautural man" and turning outward rather than inward. I love that. I have always known that this mission is not at all about me or what I will gain from it, but I am starting to realize how difficult it is to really give up yourself completely. Obviously there needs to be balance... but I want to lose myself in this work and become more Christlike. He was totally focused on others´ needs. I hope I can become more like him throughout my mission.
Today was Preparation Day! Woohoo!! We went to the Temple. Amazing! We went down town. crazy. I love peru! I felt so normal and comfortable walking around. Besides the fact that everyone was staring at me because we are a group of 10 white people in suits and dresses with black name tags. Weirdos.
I love it here! I love everything about this work. It´s hard! I realized it´s harder to go to bed on time than it is to wakeup on time! I know, shocker! Yes, I have been waking up at 6:30 everyday. It´s amazing what faults you can overcome when you are doing the Lord´s work. ;)
Thank you all so much for your love and support! I am trying to figure out this whole email thing, so no pics and sorry I couldn´t individually respond to you all, but one hour is a little chaotic!! I miss you so much and think and pray about you everyday!
Con Amor,
Hermana Nelson