Monday, February 20, 2012

First week in huehuetenango

Well I officially had my first real changes in the mission! It was just as horrible as I imagined, but wont be the next go around:) I finished packing tuesday morning... bags weigh a TON! The member was supposed to come get us at 830 but didn't show up until like 9. Of course this stressed me out since we were supposed to be there at 9 and I had no idea what to expect... but in the end it wasn't a big deal because I ended up sitting there for like 2 and a half more hours. We just sat around waiting at this giant bus stop for them to tell us where we were going and who our companion was going to be. They didn't say anything to me so I finally just asked one of the assistants. Huehuetenango, in the area la vina with Hna Guardado... I actually wasn't sure who she was before she got to the bus station. She is from honduras and about 22 days younger than I am. She goes home in June and will supposedly only be here in huehue for this change. President apparently told her she'll leave after this change because she has about 6 months in this area. She is the third of 8 kids in her family, and comes from a very wealthy family. I felt a little nervous about going to huehue... it is about 2 and a half hours away from Xela. Nervous because in my mind it is a little pueblo with nothing in it, but in the end... I think the members have a lot more money here and it is more city like than Xela! Especially than my area las flores. Way less women where the typical clothes. I am supposedly about 20-30 minutes from the mexico border and you can definitely see the mexican influence in the city... the colors and even the clothes... more bright colored. It is HOT here... ok really not, but about 80-85 degrees during the day (thats a guesstimate) and MUCH hotter than Xela... so that has been an interesting adjustment. I some how have a cold at the moment, but I hoping I can find some medicine today when we buy groceries that will help. It is weird being so far away from xela... probably wont get letters during the change... maybe one time, so you can obviously keep sending them, but the zone leaders don't go to xela every week.
Like I mentioned last week I was nervous about how on earth I was going to get my heavy suit cases on the bus, especially if they made me do it by myself! But in the end, if you can possibly imagine... these men that work with the buses, just grabbed my suit case, threw it on their BACK! and climbed up a latter to the top of the bus. I couldn't believe my eyes when I saw that! I ended up getting on a bus with another companionship of sisters and then had to get off because I still didn't have my companion. She came super late because her companion was packing to go home. Anyway so got on luggage and all, got off and waiting until hna guardado got there and then got on another bus and headed out.
Well, once we got into huehue and I got over the idea of being in the middle of nowhere and realized that it really is a big city... I got pretty excited about the new area. Our house is really big... three flours! We don't have running water!!! I shower with a bucket.... that is still taking some getting used to. We wash our clothes by hand... boy were my arms sore the next day... took me about an hour to wash all my dirty clothes. Like I said in the pictures... we don't have running water and we are at the mercy of our pila... and when water randomly comes to the house. Please pray that we will get water this week!!!! Because if not, we are going to have to haul water to the house or haul dirty clothes to the members houses to wash by hand, and shower in the other hnas apartment. Don't even ask about how we are going to flush the toilet... haha we probably will have to use purified water to flush the toilet... or simply not go in our house... thats an experience I am praying I don't need to have, but if so, all well! Thankfully I haven't encountered any giant spiders with the new heat... that is most certainly a blessing. Hna Guardado thinks I am strange because whenever she wakes up I don't have sheets on... definitely don't need sweaters or anything like them here in huehue. I put sunscreen on about two times every day and I still get a little burned, probably because I sweat! Our area is very hilly.. very steep hilly! So that is great and not so great. Great because my muscles are growing.... not so great because scriptures and books of mormon and pamplets weigh a LOT!!!!! The houses here are a lot bigger, they all have nicer fridges, majority of families have two of them... not quite as big as ours but still big.
This week I have gotten to meet the majority of the members which is great. It is amazing to see the difference in the wards... as they'd say in spanish ellos son PILAS! basically they are SO on the ball and they have just given us references without having to ask. The bishop is really nice and very willing to help us out. There are some pretty big issues caused by previous companionships of missionaries here in the area... we are going to do our best to fix them. Yesterday you'll be glad to know, I talked in sacrament meeting and played the piano! I most certainly can't play both hands, but when the members are used to nothing and all of a sudden have piano they seemed pretty grateful. I am going to try and practice so I can play the hymns better, and more than the hymns that only have 1 flat or 1 sharp or none at all... definitely a huge blessing that I had to take my piano class at michigan... helped a ton yesterday. We teach the gospel principals class, and all the recent converts are menos activos... so we teach it more to menos activos. One of the recent converts is addicted to alcohol so we will see how we can help him overcome that. He supposedly drank two nights before his baptism, but who knows if that is true or not.
The members are super nice... we eat with a different member every day of the week for lunch, which will be so great! We don't pay them and hopefully that will make up the difference for the higher cost of food here in huehue. Something crazy is that in the same country they have inspection stops for food! We stopped as we came into huehue and they checked our bags for fruit from xela because you are apparently not allowed to bring it in. I had an orange in my backpack but they didnt end up looking in it. There is apparently a bug on the fruits in xela they don't want in huehue... they don't need to worry though. All my food is cleaned in bleach!
Anyway, keep me in your prayers over the next few weeks... some of the sister missionaries have left a mess here in huehue and my companion is what you'd call baggy... aka anxious to go home and still has 5 months left. But I know heavenly father is going to help me and I can't wait to show these members that I am going to do all I can to show them what a good missionary can get accomplished. They love the violin and piano already which is great. I really love being in a new area, and for the first time ever... hna guardado likes contacting doors and has taught me how to do it better! I love you all and hope you have a great week! Can't believe in four weeks I will be an aunt!!!! Talk to you next week!
love, hna nelson

last week in Las Flores

Well family this was an interesting week for me! Normally the missionaries don't know until Sunday night that they will have changes, but I have known all week. It has been a blessing and a burden for sure. I have been mentally packing all week and I know now that I DO NOT like changes. Zach Karli, landon??? DId you mind changes?? Ours are horrible because tomorrow I have to be at the terminal (where all the buses come to when they come to xela) at 9 with my luggage. They will tell me there and if I am going any where slightly far... they will throw my suit cases on top of a school but and off we go... I have hear horror stories and tomorrow will get to experience it for my self.... hopefully I have a good story next week:) Then again, hopefully not!!!!
So to start off, this week was the 80th birthday of hna elduvina (mom of cecilia!) It was a bit of a stressful day... I think I was stressed about packing... but we made her hna smith's version of fettuccini alfredo... DELICIOUS!!!! With bread and peach juice... let me just tell you the amazing humility of this poor family. They could hardly eat any of it because they aren't used to eating so much food. I don't think I ever imagined the poverty I would see... really they don't have it nearly as bad as some people I have seen and met but it definitely makes you stop and think how VERY blessed we are. They were so sweet and tried to eat as much as they could but truly honestly jordy and brian (the kids) were full in about 5 bites... they usually eat a tomalito (tortilla in a different shape) and black beans... depending on how much money there is that week. Cecilia's job doesn't pay her regularly or how much she earned. It is really hard to see and makes you want to give her all your own food, but thank heavens the church has an amazing bishop storehouse and we are trying to get that moving so she can get food from the church. The birthday party was great and we ran to the baptism of a little girl in our ward afterwards. It started like an hour LATE! (normal for here) thankfully we didn't have any citas planned for after the baptism. There were a lot of investigators there, including a sister who went to the open house. Since I am leaving tomorrow I wont get to work with her but hna smith will and I am sure she will progress and make the decision eventually.
So hna smith got pretty sick this week... I felt bad because there isn't much we can do, it just has to pass. She was really nautious (however you spell it) and had to stay in bed for a little bit. She feels better now, but I knew she was REALLY sick when she wanted to lay back down for a little while. She is always WORK WORK WORK which is great, but this day was a slow day since she was sick. She also had her training meeting for the trainers... I was hoping to write letters, catch up in the journal, and study some scriptures but all the trainers companions ended up having to be in the meeting too! That was unfortunate but I learned a lot and hopefully hna smith did too. She didn't feel good still so we spent a lot of time in the bathroom....
So a blessing... actually 2 from this week came in answers to prayers!!! On tuesday at some point I lost my ctr ring that I bought in the CCM. I was SO sad when I noticed tuesday night and thought I left it at the church and that I'd never see it again. Lets just say my faith wasn't exactly strong... but hna smith's yes! So anyway I started asking people if they'd seen it or anything and of course nothing. Well thursday morning I was washing some dirty dishes and low and behold there was my ring just sitting in our sink! It seems like something so small but it was HUGE for me and I immediately thanked heavenly father for helping me to find it. I was very grateful! The second blessing of the week, another answer to prayer was on friday. So you all know that missionaries have to be in bed by 1030... so we went to visit hugo and marsela (investigators) and he was doing something that he accidentally swollowed diesel gas... !!!!! AH! I was of course really worried about him! So he asked us if we could call him and wake him up at 11 to go to his work so he could sleep for a little bit. I figured it shouldn't be too big of a problem so we told him yes. This was the day hna smith was sick so I told her to go to bed and I would wait to call him. I was writing in my journal waiting for 11 to come around so I could go to bed. So 11 came and I tried calling him.... NO SALDO!!!! AKA we didn't have any minutes on our phone and it isnt possible to make emergency calls on the phones here... you have to go find a pay phone! It was SO SO SO bad and I had no idea what to do. We couldn't leave our house for sure and had no idea what to do. Our neighbors above us that are family members of the Velasquez family were home so, I woke hna smith up so I didn't go alone... they also had no saldo. I was thinking we were just going to have to leave the house... hna smith wasn't so sure so she said we should just pray that he'd wake up. I knew thats what we'd have to do, but I knew I'd never sleep knowing that his job could be on the line. So all of a sudden I heard somebody walking outside in front of our door and sure enough... at 1130 at night... heavenly father sent me the blessing of a member in our ward passing by our house at the exact moment I needed!!! Long story short he ended up calling hugo and all was well! I was so SO grateful and fell asleep thinking how grateful I was to heavenly father for providing that answer to unspoken prayers. Things I learned.... don't tell somebody you'll call them after we are supposed to be asleep. 2nd help them learn how to set an alarm on their phone... didn't think of that one until we left... Anyway... I promise I am trying to always be exactly obidient... haha but the man swollowed gasoline!!!! Anyway, that was a VERY stressful night!
Yesterday we were asked to come to a young single adult meeting for the sisters in our ward. It was pretty fun and I thought you'd all appreciate one of the mom's saying that the For Strength of Youth pamphlet should say we don't single date until we are 80 years old... TOO FUNNY! She has 5 girls and three are starting to date at the same time... I can only imagine how she felt. Two couples- the bishop and his wife, and the previous bishop and his wife... carolina from the pictures!... all spoke. It was SO fun to hear how they met and the strength of the marriage. They are amazing examples for me and Hna Smith and I both want to come back and chat with them about marriage advice after the mission. Lessons I learned... I need to talk to the bishop and mission president of my future husband... haha we all discussed in the meeting that just because somebody served a mission doesn't mean that they are mr golden... thats FOR SURE! haha
Well I love you all! Pray for me that I don't have to throw my bags on top of a bus by myself... they weigh a lot! Until next week! I will let you know where my new area is and my new companion... this is the first time I have changes in almost 6 months in the mission field! CRAZY! Be safe! Zach and Karli enjoy the baby shower on Saturday....GOOD LUCK! haha ELDER NELSON! CAN"T WAIT TO HEAR HOW YOU ARE DOING!!!!!!! You are in my prayers!!!! Let me know if you don't get the pictures I emailed... well just got an email saying you didn't... I think maybe there are too many in the email... going to try one again to you! I LOVE YOU FAMILY! Mom thank you so SO much for the valentines package. Dad thanks for sending the package with the stuff I needed!
I know the book of mormon is true!!!! I love reading the scriptures... I know Joseph smith was a prophet and I know that satan is just as real as our heavenly father.... he doesn't want us to progress and receive the restored gospel of jesus christ. THIS WORK IS TRUE!!! Connie... (mom's friend) Doubt and fear are the opposite of faith and satan doesn't want you to make this step. I promise it will bless your life to be baptized as a member of the true church of Jesus Christ here on the earth. I promise that through the restored gospel of jesus christ you will see your dad again and that through the temple and restoration of the priesthood you can be sealed to your family for eternity. Read the book of mormon every day and pray to our heavenly father and I know he will answer your prayer! I LOVE YOU FAMILY!!! Have a great week!!!
love, hna nelson

When it rains it pours :)

Buenas tardes mi querido familia!!!
So apparently it is very strange but this week the rain has started... not enough that I can try out the new rain boots mom sent me, but enough that the dirt isn't dust BLESSING FROM HEAVEN:) haha The people have a saying that February is crazy and all the people born in february are crazy... sorry Elder Nelson:) but it has been a crazy week in regards to the weather:) haha
SO first I want to explain just how much we get ripped off in the states when we buy fresh veggies.... so you saw the pic I sent in my other email. We bought 12 carrots, 12 mandarine oranges, 2 wiskil (the green looking veggie in the back) 3 red peppers, 6 mangos, 12 bananas, and a pound of onions... all for 40 Quetzales!!!! That is about $5.71 or something like that! CRAZY HUH? It is so cheap to buy fresh fruit here and I LOVE the buying food in the markets on the streets. I will definitely miss that when I am not here in guatemala!
So this was a mas o menos kind of a week... so, so... really it was a good week just some sad news. We finally had another cita with luki and her whole family and basically her husband carlos told us that they've decided that they need to stop confusing their children and that they are going to go to the catholic church since that is where they are baptized... i was on the verge of tears the whole time and couldn't really make any input. Thankfully we had hno tistoj with us and he talked a lot... shared his conversion story and everything. Just shows how powerful satan is! She got her answer and then because of doubts and fears hna luki picked the easy route. For the first time in FIFTEEN YEARS(!!!!!!) they are going to church every sunday.... Carlos doesn't believe in the catholic church but he wants his family to be united and he even told us he never will believe in the catholic doctrine (just have to throw this in there that catholic doctring is INSANE! They don't have any support what so ever for their practices through scriptures....) but that he is going to do whats best for his kids. He even told us he could see a big difference in the mormon church but like elder falabella told us, we will receive blessings when we choose the difficult part... when we choose the easy way... the blessings aren't there and if there are some, we are missing out on LOTS! So that was really sad... I was very grateful for hna smith afterwards though because she helped me to feel better about the whole situation.
Last night we got the official call that hna smith will be training this next change which means I will for sure have changes next week. They are the 14th of February... so I will write next monday, but I wont know where I am going until we will see what heavenly father has in store for me this next change... who my comp is and where I am going! I will be very sad to leave this ward behind... I hope with all my heart that one day you can all meet them... tistoj family, cecilia and her family, velasquez family... TODOS! I am excited for a new place but I am ofcourse already stressing about having to pack and of the unknown... I am a control freak through and through and everything is completely out of my control! So two mondays from now, I will have new fun stories to share about the new area!!
So remember raymunda? investigator? well she has been avoiding us and kind of fell off the face of the earth and FINALLY last night we found her and she explained to us why she's been avoiding us for so long. She started talking to some neighbors or something about the fact that she has a cantina (sell alcohol) and neighbors who aren't members of the church told her she'd have to give up her business if she joins the church. Although that is our ultimate goal... that she'd stop selling alcohol.... it isn't required. Sounds strange I know but MANY people here sell alcohol because it brings in so much more money. She was so excited that her friends weren't right (although we will have to explain to her why she'd WANT to give up selling it) and I think now she will come to church with us... before she thought she wasn't allowed to come because of what she sells. The sunday she came we got her a manual for George Albert Smith and it isSO funny! Her daughter... who we haven't really taught, has been reading more in the book of mormon, and that manual than ANY investigators we have!!! She loves it and loves what it teaches. She also likes the book of mormon so we are pretty excited about her and we will see what happens with her in the coming weeks... well hna smith will see more than me so if she keeps me informed I'll let you know!
HAPPY BIRTHDAY ELDER NELSON!!!!!!!! I know you wont get this until tomorrow but just wanted you to know I was thinking of you today:)
CONGRATS LANDON Y MALARIE! Happy wedding this last weekend... cant wait for pics:)
6ISH weeks Zach and Karli!!! SO EXCITED TO SEE BABY BENTLEY!
So other exciting news... there are members of our ward who make leather scripture cases and they are going to make me some... they are SO beautiful and I can't wait until you get to see them! They put images on the leather by hand and I have loved them since the CCM but didn't have a chance to get some.
We have new investigators within the last few weeks named karin and Ana. It is a mom and daughter... maybe I already explained but they are so great! The daughter promised us she'd come to church this next sunday and we think they are super positive! At least the daughter. She is an amazing example! Her dad was a drunk and died from drinking... but she has worked and made a huge effort to make sure and still get a college education. So she works every day and studies when she has free time. She is a great example and so sweet! She wants to go to institute and everything so that is very exciting news!!! She is my age and will be a very powerful member of the church one day!
Ok... if you can ever find the wiskil veggie in the states (I know they have it somewhere because hna smith has had it in the states) but all you do... cut it into slices, boil it like a potato. then when done, whisk the whites of an egg until fluffy and then add the yolks and mix together as well, dip wiskil slices and then fry them up! Then you have a guatemala dish called chila kila! SO GOOD! Tastes like an artichoke, but better:)
Anyway, quick the adorable little girl in my pictures... she is a CHOSEN spirit of heavenly father. Her mom is a menos activo... has some sins she isn't willing to repent of. Anyway this little FOUR YEAR OLD girl wakes her mom up every sunday to get her church clothes ready and goes to church with her grandma. She wants to be a missionary and is one of the sweetest things I have ever met! She wanted to wear my name tag to be a missionary while we were visiting her family. SO CUTE!
Well time is up! This was a rainy week, sad week with luki and carlos, but I feel so blessed. Fasting yesterday was great and gave me the strength I needed to start a new week. I am so blessed and I am so grateful for my amazing family, and for the new families I have found and developed here. You don't realize how much somebody means to you until it comes time to leave them:) I LOVE YOU ALL SO MUCH! HAPPY WEEK! Elder Nelson.... feliz primer semana en el campo!!!!
con amor, hna nelson

7 months

Well yesterday I officially completed 7 months as a missionary. This last month has felt EXTREMELY long, but yesterday creeped up out of no where! Hna Smith surprised me with a pancake with the number 7 on it and I thought maybe she thought it was my birthday. Almost to the half way mark and that is insane! Changes are the 14th of February... so we will see where the mission takes me then! I will probably leave our area and hna smith will stay, but really we have no idea!
I had a very exciting 7 month mark day.... surprise number 1: Hna Smith pancake surprise. Surprise 2: President showed up to our ward for the first time in my mission. surprise 3: our gospel principals teacher couldn't give the lesson so asked us to give the lesson... although it is something we study (fasting) it was still a little stresser surprise. surprise 4: president wants to come with us to our class... not only teach, but teach with president sitting in front of us.... surprise 5: we stressed about getting things ready to teach family tistoj how to make lasagna and in the end, they couldn't buy everything for it so we ended up not doing it anyway... and stressed for nothing! surprise 6: SCONES!! Hna smith had made dough to make rolls for our lasagna but since we weren't going to make it, and because their ovens are gas ovens and it takes A LOT of gas to run the oven rather than the stove, so we made scones instead... the only thing that could have made them better was honey butter.... rather than honey margarine. and the last thing wasn't a surprise but was definitely a slight cause of stress was president and hna bautista coming to our house for companionship study. It really helped a lot and I think we have a better way to plan lessons now and that we will be able to be more focused in our lessons and more powerful as well. We applied what we learned last night and I think it had the affect we wanted! it was a crazy day that probably knocked 2 years off my life....
Before I forget... Dad and megs, what did you send me in your package? I got the sweater and the candies and the fish oil pills... was there anything else? I realized after the fact that the mail place here had opened it and shut it again. That hasn't happened on any of my other packages and I don't think they took anything but just wanted to check. The mail actually is pretty safe, to my knowledge I have received everything people have sent me... if I haven't said thank you to anyone, maybe let me know that you sent something because maybe I haven't gotten it.
So this was a pretty good week. We had a meeting with Elder Falabella (look for him in your conference issue of the ensign... he is listed under the general authorities) anyway, president bautista and his wife spoke and then Elder Falabella and his wife spoke. I have about 10 pages of notes from our meeting and still need to study a bunch! One of the biggest things for me that he talked about was whether we do things because they are an obligation or a habit... for instance... I wake up at 6:30 every day out of obligation... so he talked about how that isnt good because if we are obligated to do something we wont make it into a habit. I explained to Hna Smith that perhaps I wont be waking up at 6:30 for the rest of my life but that waking up early will benefit me for the rest of my life... to have time to study from the scriptures and prepare for the day, rather than hurry and get ready to go and leave! So i really liked that, there are definitely other things... like some of the mission rules. I am completely willing to follow them, but out of obligation not out of habit. All though some of them wont be life habits, I think it is a principal that can apply in future jobs, family life etc. So that was great! He also talked to us about the importance of baptizing whole families... just to put into perspective... the most inactive group of the church are the young single adults. In a stake or something here they did a test to see how many of the inactive ysas in the stakes came from a familiy of members or if they were the only convert in their family. What they saw was that about 4% of children or youth baptized without their family stay active through their YSA years. It jumps up to 58% or so if their whole family is baptized. So you can definitely see the benefit, and also the fact that the gospel is a gospel of eternal families... not just one person. Anyway so that was a really great day filled with a mountain of learning!!!
This week we finally had another cita with Luki... she told us she decided to be baptized and Satan has been working on her and after that she decided no, not until her husband is ready. Carlos truly is amazing and very suportive of her being baptized, he even told her he'd go with her, but that she needs patience with him... that he'll eventually make the step but he isn't ready. Anyway, it was so nice finally hearing from her why she's been avoiding us. They still didn't come to church this week but I think she at least will stop avoiding us. The people here just don't understand the importance of going to church! It isn't an option, it is a commandment!! Sunday is vacation day here and it proves to be very hard to get people to church. Carlos has started working again (he is a teacher) so he is extremely busy but we are hoping to read in the scriptures with him for 10 minutes every day and we know he will get an answer.
Something else exciting from our meeting with elder falabella.... so he was telling us to use our talents to find people to teach... he asked all the missionaries who liked singing. Hna smith and I raised our hands and were told to come up front. We ended up having to do a role play of singing to somebody who door we contacted . Little nerve racking and of course after finishing he asked if we would do it that night... that we need to be TODAY missionaries not tomorrow missionaries. So we did it that night... pretty sure it was just as awkward for the person we did it do as for us, but we did get a cita with them after the fact. It was funny, but we definitely see the benefits of it and are going to keep trying to be creative to get people to want to listen to us. Anyway, sorry this week kind of all over the place! I didn't write down like usual what I wanted to share with you:) I learned a lot, and have LOTS to learn in the rest of my mission. I learned this week, more than any other week what it means when they say, a mission is hard! elder falabella told us to always pick the harder option... it will be hard but the blessings will be greater! I hope you all had a good week, and I will talk to you next week! Might be my last pday in las flores next monday!!!
Love, Hna Nelson

earthquake or cow stomach anyone??

Hola familia!!
Well I am currently still alive… blessings from Heavenly Father for sure. This week I survived an earthquake and eating cow stomach!!!! SICK SICK SICK! Haha the earthquake was Saturday and it was an interesting experience to say the least. It was a 6.58 on the richter scale (however you spell that) and the center was in chapas mexico. We were at Hna Mary´s house and when it started I looked at hna smith and was like… is that the truck outside… and she was like uh no I don´t think a truck could cause us to move that much. So then we just stared at each other like… um what do we do?? Haha to be honest it wasn’t scary at all because I felt like I was on a boat and a big wave had just got past. Everybody in hna marys family started running around and it shook them up a bit. It lasted for about 25 seconds and definitely felt longer than that. I felt “sea sick” for like 45 minutes afterwards. It was so crazy and apparently you can only feel earthquakes, you can’t see them. I talked to hna ramos that day and she said they were walking in the streets and didn’t know what was going on, but that people just all of a sudden dashed out of their houses. They didn’t feel it at all and couldn’t see the houses shaking… just people running out of their houses. It was definitely a testimony for me how powerful God is… that in a matter of seconds God could change the face of the earth with the smallest effort. Crazy! Today I studied about the priesthood and realized what a blessing and privilege it is to have the priesthood on the earth again! God has given the same power he uses for earthquakes, to all worthy males in the church. WHAT A BLESSING! With faith and righteousness we truly can do miracles… just hit me thinking about the power of God through an earthquake. There were actually a few walls in Xela that fell… so that just goes to show how strong it was!
So now on to the COW STOMACH!!!!! So yesterday we went to Tistoj's like usual for Sunday lunch. We are always so grateful for the food they cook for us! So we got everything ready and then they put the plate of food in front of me. The meat looked funny for sure (a little like the skin and fat of the chicken we gutted this week) but I figured it was just fat or something and wasn't too worried. Well I started eating and as many of you know, I have some serious issues with texture. So I started eating the meat and of course I have to eat it, but it was a miracle I finished what was on my plate... I thing I'd gag down a tomato before you pay me to eat that again. The texture was horrible and it was definitely interesting trying to get it down. Now mind you while eating it, I had NO idea what on earth it was! So as soon as we left their house I looked at hna smith and said "I am terrified to ask, but what on EARTH did we just eat???" I don't think she's ever had it before but she explained to me the reasons why she thought it was cow stomach and I am convinced. It certainly wasn't anything I have every eaten before. Afterwards we talked about the worse things we could have eaten... tongue, liver, foot... the possiblities are endless. so I am grateful that it was just the stomach and not the intestines... I don't think they realize what has been in there!!! I have also heard they eat hamsters in Peru so, although I thought I was going to die when hna smith told me what we ate, I am glad it wasn't fried hamster:)
So this was a good week! We met the mission goal of 10 lessons with menos activos!!! That was very exciting... we sadly didn't have any investigators in church though. Any tips from you rms would be gladly welcomed. They don't understand what the sabbath means and that it is a commandment to go to church on sunday! Not a suggestion!!! All of them have the excuse like oh, its the only day I can buy groceries or we can sleep in, or we can spend time as a family. So that stinks! People will tell us they are going to go and then when we pass by their house to bring them to church they aren't home, a family member straight up lies to us, or they are in bed... if they would just come to church they could progress!!!
Very sad news with Luki and Carlos too... they are currently avoiding us... I was so sad about it Saturday... Luki got her response two weeks ago and they haven't let us visit them since then. I bought their kids the primary hymns cd and haven't been able to give it to them. Given school started this week for them so they are busy, but if it was a priority they'd let us come in for a few minutes. They wouldn't even let us wash their dishes!!!! But I know heavenly father knows their needs and their time to make this decision so we are going to work really hard and try to prepare them for this weekend because they are our only investigators that could be baptized this weekend and we have a mission goal of 2 baptisms every month for every companionship. But we are always trying to remember that Heavenly father will help them when they are ready if it isn't now. PRAY FOR THEM!! Please and Thank you:)
So this week we have started visiting a little girl (12 years old) named elizabeth. She was baptized around the time she was 8 or 9 years old. she doesn't know how to read, and has to work to support her family. her dad and mom are serious alcoholics and her dad has another woman living in their house with them. they don't have electricity and live in a house about the size of the little white house kitchen with two matresses for at least 7 people. They have fleas and have no running water source any where near their house... unless maybe the neighbors borrow it to them. Elizabeth is the only member and it would be an understatement to say it is a heart wrenching situation. our first cita with her we sang silent night with her. she can't read but loves to sing so we want to try and teach her the hymns through memorization. Last night we visited her in her house... by candle light with her mom completely intoxicated with alcohol and her dad coming out of a hangover. They are with it enough when they are drunk to invite us in so we came in and shared a message with them. I brought my violin and some how her drunk mother learned I am child of god, so we sang that with them and just shared a scripture with them. Obviously the parents can't progress when they are drunk but my heart goes out to these poor children. I know they were special spirits of our heavenly father. It is a very humbling experience to get to know that family and we are trying to have the faith that her parents can change and improve their life style. We want to help elizabeth learn how to read... but as always time is an issue. We brought her some snickers dad sent me and she was so excited! It was probably the first time she has had anything like it! I don't remember if I told you but the group of north americans that came and had a dinner on christmas eve for some of the poorer people in our area had elizabeth and her siblings come as well. It was a very special night for her and I am sure one she wont ever forget.
Anyway, that was a humbling experience of the week. I am so grateful for all that I have... a great family and a reliable family. I am so grateful that I was able to receive an education, to play a musical instrument, that I can read and learn and progress. I am so grateful for the opportunity to touch peoples lives. Yesterday hna smith and I studied in preach my gospel about what a successful missionary is, and I am grateful it makes no mention about how many baptisms we have. I can go home with just the baptism of cecilia, but I know I have been able to touch the lives of menos activos, I have been able to share my testimony with others and strengthen their testimonies. I have met people like the Tistoj family, Cecilia, Edgar Cayax, Hna Smith, Hna Ramos, President Bautista, Bishop Arana, the Grijalva family, and SO many more. It is such a blessing to be a missionary and I am so grateful that I have been blessed with this opportunity and that I have family and friends to share it with every week:) I love you all so very much! I am so grateful for the influence every single one of you has had in my life. I am so grateful for the many examples heavenly father has blessed me with. I LOVE YOU ALL SO MUCH! I am so grateful to call you my family!
Happy two month mark Zach and Karli!
Elder Nelson, you are A STUD! I am so grateful for your example
Megs, so happy you are going to get your patriarchal blessing! I can't wait to hear about it!!
Beau Christopher! I LOVE YOU! hope you are enjoying your bike still
Mom and dad, thank you for all you have given me!
Miran, thank you for the part you have played in my life! I miss you and Helaman!!!
Landon and Malorie... TWO WEEKS UNTIL YOUR WEDDING!!! Happy planning
Tiff, happy late birthday!! LOVE YOU LOTS!
Everyone else who reads my emails:) I love you so much and am so grateful to have you in my life! Tenga feliz semana!!
All my love!!
Con amor, Hna Nelson

Hola :)

Hola mi familia!
Sounds like you all had a great week this week! We had a good week too... to start things off I was blessed to speak in sacrament meeting yesterday. The bishop called us at about 810 to ask if we could speak in church. We had to leave at 830 to try and pick up some investigators, so after prayer and all I had about 12 minutes to prepare. It is one thing giving a talk on the fly but it is an entirely different thing giving it on the fly in spanish. Hna Smith and I definitely both freaked out when he called. She either didn't mention or I didn't hear that he wanted us to talk on missionary work. Later she decided she didn't tell me but who knows... So prayed and decided to talk about following the prophet. It went really well, I am very grateful that public speaking doesn't make me too nervous.... It tied in really well with the high council member who came... oh and dont you worry... member of the stake presidency was there too. For the first time in my mission! haha so we get to church and because the high council and stake presidency member showed up the bishop decided only one of us should speak. Hna Smith immediately spoke up and said, "hna nelson can!" it was really funny! I didn't mind but after I finished and the bishop announced that the mission leader would be speaking on missionary work, i leaned over to hna smith to ask if they had given us a specific topic and she was like "yeah, i told you and was wondering why you talked about following the prophet..." it was pretty funny but thankfully the bishop wasn't upset that I didn't talk on the topic he gave hna smith. Hopefully the people understood me... a member told me my spanish has improved immensely so I guess that is a good sign.
We sadly didn't have any investigators at church this week. Raymunda couldn't come, luki and carlos didn't come for some reason, and another newish investigator Alba... it was her birthday and she couldn't come because she had things going on for her birthday. I made her some schotcheroos... SO GOOD! Alba reminds me SO much of angela, marks wife!! She is so cute and always smiling and reminds me of angela every time I see her. She has accepted to be baptized if she gets an answer to her prayer that the book of mormon is true. She has to attend church two times before she can be baptized so we will see when she ends up being baptized.
Luki and Carlos for some reason were no shows this week. Luki was making school uniforms for her girls and other neighbors and she was really busy this week and wouldn't let us come and help. We are a little nervous but are going to go visit today or tomorrow. The kids here start school today. Their school schedules are switched here. right now is the beginning of the school year, so that is interesting. They also choose a "degree" while in high school and study that specifically for the last years of school... if it is something that only takes 2 years they finish high school at 17 or even 16 sometimes. Really strange!
So we had a really fun family home evening with the Cayax family (one of my fav families in the ward) and cecilia and her family. We had a lot of fun. We talked about faith and had every draw pictures of the seed, tree, water etc in Alma 32... a tree without water and sunlight etc. They loved it and we had fun teaching it. Hna Smith's family has a game called dont eat pete that we played too. That was fun! It has like 9 squares and somebody has to leave the room and everybody else picks one of the monsters in the 9 squares and he is pete. Then we put skittles on all the squares and the person comes in and can eat a skittle for every monster but pete... anyway it was pretty fun and definitely a game I want to make my own of so that I can play it with members. Something funny, hna cayax is pregnant. due about the same time as karli and I had NO idea. hna smith said something to me and I was like... NO she isn't! and don't say anything! sure enough she is most definitely pregnant and I can't believe I couldn't see it!
This week we had a lot of lessons at the door... a little strange but possible! they are fun though because we try to get as much in before they shut their door on us:) We need to practice at being a little quicker to grab their attention, but it is pretty fun!
This week we have started enjoying fleas... I haven't found any but I have felt them and they are horrible! Hna smith found one and we dont know how we got them, but we are hopefully going to get rid of them quickly...
This week we went to visit a menos activo and he looked like he'd gotten beat up. He doesn't remember what happened and I think he was either drinking or somebody hit him, knocked him out, and he had a concussion or something. whatever happened somebody robbed him. they took money and his papers (birth certificate something like that... for some reason they carry them around with them) it was really sad and I worry much more about his poor family. he disappeared tuesday and came home all bloody saturday morning. makes me appreciate so much the word of wisdom. our commandments are blessings!!!! It was really sad and our bishop told us for the time being we shouldn't visit him any more. I am going to make sure they get visited because his wife and her children (they aren't his children) are the victims of the choices he makes... whether they are bad or he was just in a bad situation... who knows. Anyway, Hna smith is teaching me how to be better at setting goals! I started reading the new testament and want to finish it by june now that I have finished the Book of Mormon. It is so great and I love reading the scriptures! Definitely something I have learned on my mission. I love you all and hope everyone is doing well!!! Talk to you next week!
love, hna nelson

another week

Howdy family! How are you all doing? I hope great! Happy first week of 2012! This was a good week. GUESS WHAT! Hna Luki (luki and carlos) accepted to be baptized! She wants to think about the date but we are hoping for the 21st of january. She told us they had done their reading assignment we gave them this past thursday (read a chapter every day until saturday) and we told her we knew she'd have her response by saturday if she did that and prayed. She told us they talked as a family and decided they needed to be united in a certain church and she felt like this is the right church and that she received an answer that the book of mormon is true. I was so excited and so nervous. We were fasting and all i could think about in the lesson was... heavenly father you can do this, please you can do this!! I was so happy and we cant wait to start planning the actual baptism. We are hoping to get carlos as well, but it is all in the lords hands.
We have some really great investigators right now. One is named Raymunda. She is FANTASTIC! She came to church yesterday and I think she really liked it. She stayed for all three hours and wanted a manual for relief society. Her son is the boss of a bunch of buses and everybody knows her for either that or her little store. She is so sweet and is the person who let us try on the typical clothes for the women. I explained to mom last week, but only the women wear typical clothes... the men just wear normal clothes. the cutest are the little 2 year old girls that have the typical clothes on.. they are all adorable!
This was a week of a lot of meetings with our ward but they were great. I realize sometimes I talk too much, or voice my ideas maybe too often... hna smith assured me it was fine though. I am so excited to be working in my ward and stake. They are setting great goals and I am excited to help them accomplish them. The stake presidency both gave really great talks about setting goals. The stake president talked about the creation and how we felt god planned the creation. If it was just spur of the moment or if he had a plan and a vision of what he wanted to accomplish in the earth. He talked about how having visions of what we want to accomplish is great, but if we don't gain a testimony of the vision we wont ever accomplish. Like how nephi in the book of mormon didn't just believe the words of lehi... he prayed and asked for his own testimony. So that was really a great talk... something good to consider how the creation can relate to setting goals. Another thing i really like was that he talked about how we get revelation... he said 90% is information and 10% is inspiration. He talked about how if we set a goal for 3 men that will be ordained in the coming year to an elder might appear like a horrible goal, but if the information indicates that there is only 1 possibility right now and that there are only 10 elders in the ward or branch then perhaps it is a perfect goal. I really liked that... the information is SO important when we are setting goals. But yeah so that is exciting how they are getting excited about moving forward the work because I know our efforts will bless them and their efforts will bless us.
We also had a meeting with president for all the new missionaries. It was really good and we talked about the importance of doing role play. Hna Bautista told us that it is a way we can receive personal revelation for our investigators. President has already said to hna smith that she will train in the next transfer so that is exciting. She will be a fantastic trainer! she is a little nervous because there are rumors that only north americans are coming in but i am certain she can do it. So that means I will probably be leaving my area the second week of february. I realize now that that makes me sad! I love the members in our area and I will miss them very much. I understand now how fast the mission is going to fly by. I sometimes feel a little stressed about the time but I only have five more weeks to work in this area and then it will be on to another area with new members and new people. We talked to familia tistoj about them wanting to go to the united states. It made me realize how very blessed we are. just to put it into perspective... about 500 or so round trip to fly to guatemala and back in dollars. for them it would be about 35000 quetz... more than their house, motorcycle, and clothing cost. they are so amazing and I promised them if I married rich:) I'd fly them to utah. they are such an amazing family and i hope and pray i will be able to communicate with them in the future as much as possible.
Cecilia is doing good as a new convert. unfortunately her work isn't so great but we are praying for her and hoping she will find a new and better job. they haven't paid her for december (only a part of what she earned) and have forced her to take paid vacations. she has no idea if they are going to pay her and wont be able to work her full hours until march. i understand now as well why there are so many people working in the states from other countries. they make about 100 quetzals for an entire day of work here. of course the cost of living is much less but still. when they work in the states they can make about 56-60 quetzals an hour. anyway, so we are praying for cecilia and hoping she will find a better work. I am convinced it is god's plan that she is only working have days for her forced vacation. there are so many things that are falling into place for her and I think for the stress of the time right now, she can't see it quite yet, but i know heavenly father is going to help her out. she is such a great example and I love her family so much!
Anyway, times up! hope all of you had a great week! Tell sammy to write me! i cant wait to hear from her and how she is doing being home. let her know she can write me and i can respond if i have time! I LOVE YOU ALL! Safe week and happy week! Talk to you next monday!
love, hna nelson