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

HAPPY NEW YEAR!! 2012... the end of the world:)‏

Mi querido familia!
Another week of the mission has flown by! I completed six months this past week and without even planning it I finished reading the Book of Mormon cover to cover the same day! It was very exciting! Hopefully pictures are to come!! My computer is a bit slow today and I am missing a bunch of pics from the last week!
So this was a great week! A great week to end the year and a great week to welcome in the new year! Lets start with the funnies of this week! First... we were in a lesson with a new investigator. Out of no where hna smith sees a spider coming towards me... she ofcourse knows how I feel about spiders so we stopped our lesson by me jumping up. I asked the investigator if she could kill it... except for the investigator heard cat instead of spider... so let me just paint a picture. Hna ella puede matarla? (hna can she kill it) and she heard... hna ella puede matar el gato? (hna can she kill the cat) I was wondering why the investigator was taking so long to decide... she then just yelled at her cat to get out of there... then she saw the spider and understood. Not sure if the picture I drew is sufficient, but let me just say it was HILARIOUS! haha
Next funny is the things children say... last night we were at a members house. We made scotcheroos and took them some. They wanted to give us something in return so they gave us a box of cookies. I was like oh thank you so much! That is so nice of yoU! then the five year old little boy goes... NO TENGAN PENA!!! which means like oh dont worry about it, it is nothing... and then after he goes LES ESPERAMOS! which means like we hope for you in the house all the time... it was SO stinking funny! they took a picture of him and his cousins trying to play my violin and they promised theyd send them to mom so she can forward them to everyone else.
So missionary work this week was amazing!!! We have 12 new investigators... three pretty big families and they are all really promising! One of them we had to spend an hour and a half explaining to him that the church has nothing to do with the american goverment. he kept asking why obama doesn't spend his money on the poor people in guatemala instead of the huge temple. it was actually kind of funny but also very interesting just how much the people here actually associate the church with the united states. it was great being able to clarify a mountain of things for him... explaining tithing and that those who serve in the church aren't paid and that it is the members money that funds temples and chapels... really strengthened my testimony of the organization and set up of the church. It simply cant be the true church without being set up how it was originally set up. The investigator was very grateful that we took the time to answer his questions and it was such a good lesson! we are hoping and praying for success with that family! they are golden! They don't drink coffee and have doubts about all the other churches theyve attended that our church doesn't have because it is the true church!! Anyway so that is great!
ANother great lesson we had was with a different investigator named luki. I had been reading in 1 nephi when they are getting ready to leave for the promise land in the boat. Luki was telling us about some vegetables she has that are supposed only grow here and in egypt. Well in 1 nephi it talks about how they brought seeds from jerusalem to plant in the promised land... so I explained to her the connection and it really grabbed her attention and she really wants to read the book of mormon now. So we will see what happens with them this week! We are super excited about all of them!
So we did exchanges this week for the first time in my mission. With how many investigators we have, and that all of them can only have citas at night, we are swamped every day! So we did exchanges to be able to visit more than two in one night. I went with a rm sister in our ward and hna smith with cecilia. it was really fun, but very strange not being with my companion... the "always with someone curse" has already taken hold of me! It will be SO weird being able to be alone when I get home... mom, megs, and karli might play companions until I get used to it again. Hopefully it doesn't take too long:) for your sakes! The night we did changes I had three dinners... back to back! I have been showing people pictures from my recital and every single one makes comments that I am a lot thinner now than in that picture. I don't know that I have actually lost weight but certainly inches from walking so much. All my clothes are baggy and originally I thought it was because of the lack of dryers... this week I learned that in fact my clothes have been getting washed and dryed in a dryer... so that is fun! Not sure how thats possible when I eat three dinners, but the 4-6 miles every day it working out for me:)
Anyway, sorry kind of short this week... hope everyone had a great new years eve and are enjoying 2012... the people here think the world is going to end december 12th of 2012... they better start listening to us:) haha anyway, HAPPY 2012! Invite the missionaries over to eat and more than anything... ask when you can go out and teach with them! BEST GIFT EVER to a missionary! I LOVE YOU ALL SO MUCH!!! Be safe and dont forget your favorite sister missionary in Guatemala:) I LOVE YOU!
love, hna nelson!


Hola Familia!! Another amazing week in the mission has passed by!!So first, I am going to try and call sometime around 1230 your time... have all your questions ready because president wants me to stay under 40 minutes between all three phone calls!!! AHH!! Its ok though... we will get to talk and then email again on monday the next day! Next, dont you worry... TIRANTULA 3!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I climbed up on hna smiths bed while she killed it... when she found it she started screaming which was hillarious because when hna ramos found the spiders I never knew, she just killed them. Then after hna smith finished screaming she thankfully killed it... we all know I couldnt have killed it! Time to spray our house again with bug killer!!!So this last week was AMAZING!! Beyond words!!! We had our baptism with Cecilia and lets just say it was so SO SO amazing!! The day wasn't actually too painfully stressful, but we were running all day long basically. So President Bautista had a meeting with us in our district meeting and he told us that as missionaries we should never give up an opportunity to teach. So from then on he didn't want us just singing hymns or watching a video while the person being baptized is changing their clothes. So hna smith and I decided to make a musical lesson. Everybody loves the violin and Hna smiths voice so it was perfect! We taught a principal (like God is our loving heavenly father, or the gospel blesses families) and then we sang a hymn that went along with it. Lets just say it took about 15 minutes to plan and the spirit was SO much more powerful in the baptism. When we shared the restoration I played the melody for Joseph Smiths First Prayer (whatever the hymn is called) while hna smith shared the first vision. It was SO SO powerful and without practicing at all, I finish playing the first verse of the melody as she finished sharing joseph smiths words. It was amazing! Then we sang that whole hymn. We bore testimony and the members and investigators that were there were touched. We had many people come up to us afterwards and tell us it was one of the most powerful baptisms they had ever attended. We are also seeing the fruits of gaining the confidence of the members too! One sister came up to me and told me that hna smith and I are very very powerful missionaries. She then asked when she could go out with us to visit investigators. That was great and definitely the blessing that came from us following presidents guidance. Another sister asked if she could make our investigators treats and if we could go out and deliver them this week. It was so amazing and that night hna smith and I were so very grateful that we were blessed with an amazing investigator and baptism, and as well that the baptism itself was so very successful. Hna Luki and Carlos came to the baptism so that was fantastic! I hope they felt the spirit and that the next people we will announce for a baptism is them! Cecilia is an amazing person. I wish you could all meet her! She told hna smith and I that before we came into her life she felt alone, but now she knows she isn't alone. Her husband died about 6 months ago and she is the only support her mom and children have. Jordy is 4 years old and she also has another son named bryan and he is 11. Bryan is a member and so is her mom, so just she was baptized this week. She was an amazing investigator and I hope and pray she will be an amazing member as well. She is so humble and happy with what God has given her. She has been one of the greatest blessings so far in my mission and I am so grateful we found her and were able to help her make this step. It was SO SO funny at the baptism we asked luki and carlos if they were going to come to church the next day. They were ify to say the least and then all of a sudden their 11 year old son carlitos, goes... we will be there! we dont have anything tomorrow right? Yeah, we will be there... it was hilarious! I am SO grateful for their children and know their kids are going to be the key! Their children are all ready to be baptized... if their parents would just read the book of mormon and we'd be set!! Please pray for them... if they would read the book of mormon they'd get that testimony and make the step to be baptized! Another fun thing of the week was offering service to luki and carlos for the house they are constructing. The elders helped with the house and we degrained corn (not sure if that is a legit word haha) basically they dry their corn out for like a month or month and a half and then they have to get all the grains off. They use EVERYTHING! after the corn doesnt have the kernals they use that for their fire stove and the bad kernals are food for their animals. It is actually pretty fun and the blisters go away pretty quickly:) I am hoping and praying it is something I can do when I get home. The corn tortillas here are SO SO much better than in the states and SO easy to make. Salt, water, and the kernals! Hna Luki made us all lunch that day and it was also DELICIOUS! I am not sure if I have told you yet but I LOVE the food here! It is delicious and you will all be happy to know that every week I am forced to eat fresh tomatoes... hna smith is convinced I will go home liking tomatoes... not there yet!! But we shall see, I am definitely to the point that I don't gag trying to eat them. Progression wise.. hna luki and carlos aren't reading like I said. We want to try and put another date with them and we will see what happens.MOM something I need!!!! Your carmel recipe! I think you are at work so I cant get it before sunday but will you make sure and email it to me? I dont want to use up time during our phone call writing down the recipe. Basically, I would love if you could forward me a bunch of your sweets recipes.. or maybe aunt shannon can send me some. THANK YOU!!! So this is going to be a great week for all:) Beau and Megan... and everybody else but especially them... I want to know EVERY DETAIL OF CHRISTMAS DAY!!!! what you got, what you did, EVERYTHING!!!! So you better have some emails waiting for me for Monday... ELder Nelson you too!! Let me know everything of how your christmas is! I hope you all have a very fantastic Christmas!!! Look up 2 Nephi 26:24... I am so grateful for all we go through in this life, every blessing, struggle and trial are things god gives us for our benefit. FELIZ NAVIDAD and cant wait to talk to you!!! I LOVE YOU!!!!Love, Hna Nelson

Feliz Navidad :)

Hola mi querido familia!!First it was so great talking to all of you yesterday! I know it was short but guess what... I FINISH A THIRD OF MY MISSION THIS WEEK!!! Six months have already gone by and I will be home in a year! SO CRAZY how fast time is flying by!!! This was a great Christmas week!!! Couldn't have been better! We had a party on Thursday as a mission. President was very hesitant in having the party because of problems they have had at conferences in the past, but in the end he decided to do it. We had the spiritual part first which was SO great! President talked about how Christ lived a childhood and teenage years just like we do. That he had to learn how to walk, how to talk, that he probably didn't have friends because he couldn't be like the other children or the other teenagers. We talked about how Mary and Joseph had to be worthy to raise a child in righteousness... that they had to teach Christ the scriptures and that when it came time for him to start his mortal ministry he was prepared and was able to quote endless scriptures from memory... all because his parents taught him. I also had the thought that through scriputre study christ was able to learn his purpose in this life. I thought that was really beautiful and a nice thing to think about that in reality the savior does know EVERYTHING we go through. So that was great! We sang some hymns and I was able to play my violin while we sang the hymns. Everybody loved it I think, and it was so nice to just enjoy each others company and see the other missionaries.All the zones in the mission did skits and that was super fun. If we ever come back to guatemala we will experience the craziness of the busses. One of the zones did a skit about the crazy buses... I will send a picture of two elders imitating a woman with her child tied to her back with a blanket... it was SO FUNNY! The office skit was also great... making jokes about the zones that don't turn in baptisms records and people asking the elder in charge of money for more money all the time. It was a really fun time! After the skits we had a delicious lunch! Lasagna with veggies and bread. It was really good and so nice to have a warm hearty meal:) Afterwards we just got to enjoy talking to everybody. Those who wanted to, could watch the polar express but the majority of the missionaries just wanted to talk to other missionaries. As of like 3 weeks ago we have a senior couple serving in the mission and i am SO SO excited to have them here. The wife is a convert to the church and didn't convert until after they were married. They both have very strong testimonies and with Hna Bautista they are both learning spanish. The wife (sorry... can't remember their last names) gave a talk in spanish... her pronunciation isn't too great but I know we all appreciated her diligence in trying to speak the language of the people here. So that was really great and I am so excited and hope we get to teach with them. It makes me think of Elder and Sister Gale and Byington that served in Michigan and I hope I can be close with the couple here, just like them in Michigan. After our party ended they handed out packages and HOLY SMOKES FAMILIA! I got spoiled this year!!! Thank you so much for the thought, time and effort you all put in to my presents. I loved them all and hopefully will have time to send pics of everything I had. I have bruises on my arms from carrying the packages because they were so heavy. I actually had to pay for three people when we took the bus home because my packages took up two seats!! I thought you'd all enjoy that:) Thankfully the buses are about 10 cents in american money! Thursday night we had our ward party and that was also great. Our ward really pulled together to put on their christmas party. They had acts from various members of the ward. We had a great investigator turn out and menos activos which is great!! Before I forget!!!! Is Sammy home now??? If so somebody tell her hi for me:) Anyway, there is a group of north americans that are here in Guatemala right now helping build housed in Llanos de Pinal (area in my area...) they came to the party and although the majority of them don't speak spanish, they sang a song for the members and they loved it. These north americans also brought tons of gifts to give to the poor people in our areas. It was so great and Cecilia (our convert from last week) was able to receive one of these packages. hna Smith and I were SO grateful for them, and now they can eat a little better for a while and I know they had a very merry christmas:)So Friday we went to help Hna Mary make paches... the typical Guatemala food for Christmas. They are like tamales but apparently different! I will attach pics of them so you can see what exactly they are. Anyway, we helped hna mary prep the food. It took FOREVER!!! But it was really fun to learn how she does it and hopefully when I come home I will be able to make them for everybody. Friday we had a party with our zones. We did a white elephant gift exchange... I got whips haha. Undoubtedly from an elder.... It was fun to see their ideas of white elephant gifts. After we finished we were able to give away the majority of the treats aunt shannon sent to investigators, menos activos, and our bishopric. They all loved the gifts and were so grateful to receive them. THANK YOU AUNT SHANNON!Grandma Doreen! Thank you so much for the stockings!! They are so adorable and I am so grateful to have them. Thank you to everyone else who sent things! I had a fantastic christmas and couldn't have asked for more!!! Hna Smith and I were asked if we were homesick and as much as I miss all of you, I was so grateful to be here and serve these people on christmas. I truly gained a better appreciation of the meaning of Christmas and why we celebrate it. We are all so grateful for the birth of jesus christ but had he not performed the atonement, it would have been just like every other birth in the world. I am so grateful to be able to serve a mission. Zach and Karli, I hope your cruise was fantastic! I loved talking to you for a few minutes! Thank you so much for the package of presents! I loved them all!!Kori! Thank you so much for the letters and the pictures!! I loved that some of your girls wrote to me in spanish! I am going to try and respond to them today! Thank you everyone else for your thoughts and prayers. I feel them every day and I am so grateful to have each and everyone of you!!!! FELIZ NAVIDAD!!!!! I hope you all enjoyed your christmas:)Se que vive mi senor Jesucristo. Se que podemos recibir paz y gozo en esta vida por la expiacion de el. estoy agradecida por los templos y que las familias pueden ser eternas. estoy agradecida por espanol... me encanta hablar en espanol y tengo que practicar escribiendo en espanol en una computadora porque es dificil!!! les quiero mucho y estoy agradecida que tengo una familia buenisima!! I LOVE YOU! sorry can't type in spanish quickly enough to continue on... Have a great week and happy new year this next week!! I will be thinking and praying for each of you!!! con todo mi amor, hna nelson

Temple dedication:)

Hola mi familia!How is everyone doing this week?? I hope fantastic! I dont have time to read everyone's emails but thank you so much for all the emails. Although it takes up time reading them, it is so nice to get them! So first really quick... just fyi the mission is keeping all packages that come before christmas. Mom you package came but they wont give it to me... i even bribed my zone leader with cookies and he still didn't get it... but for sure it is here so you don't have to worry! Dad, not sure if yours with candy came ( I HOPE SO!) but it is probably the same situation... it came but the mission is keeping it for our christmas party on the 22nd of december. Jordy! YEAH! You are in the MTC! How exciting! I loved getting your email and the pic mom sent me! I hope all is well and I cant wait to read your email... I will have to respond next week! Sounds like you are good though!! I LOVE YOU!So this was an exciting but sad week... sad because we didn't get to meet president uchtdorf... all the other central america temples the member of the first presidency has had a meeting with the missionaries, but not this one. I was bumbed but I know he did what heavenly father wanted him to do while he was here. We didn't get to go to the cultural celebration like everybody thought we'd be able to but hna smith and I were so lucky and got to see about 1500 of the youth in their outfits for the activity. So that was neat seeing all their clothes and stuff! I also sent my camera with a member so she took lots of pictures that I havent even looked at yet! Hopefully they are fun to see. We hardly took pictures of us this week so we need to be better at that! So fun things of the temple dedication weekend. Hna Uchtdorf told a man that they ran into that she loved his shirt... the man took the shirt off and gave it to her. Then as they were leaving the cultural activity somebody threw a package in the car and it had a hand sewn bag it it... president uchtdorf was touched by the generosity and humility of these people. He was apparently dancing the the xela theme song luna de xelaju (moon of xela) and everybody loved that! They had a cornerstone something or other for the first session. President uchtdorf and elder anderson and the other general authorities that were there took turns putting the cement up. Then after they finished he invited some of the children and teenagers in the audience to come and do it as well. Hna Coti, a sister in our ward, had my camera and they ended up calling her son up and they got some really great and fun pictures. I am not sure I understood correctly but I think this temple is the first to have this kind of stone. THey supposedly put all the interviews they did at the open house(mine included!) in the box and sealed it shut. Not sure but I think that is what they said.So they sang a special hymn that has only been sung in the kirtland and salt lake temple dedications so that was exciting. There are only three countries in all of South america that have more than one temple. Mexico brazil and now GUATEMALA! YEAH!!! Very exciting and crazy because it is such a small country. The people here are truly special and you wouldn't believe how very true the prophecies are in the book of mormon about these people having visions... some of the dreams these people have are INSANE and I dont know about any of you but I have never had a dream like theirs... for instance seeing their father accept the baptism that was performed for him in the temple. Really special and neat to take part in this. We were able to go to all three dedicatory sessions so that was really nice. The words were all great and I was thankful that nobody translated at the same time president uchtdorf was talking. Somebody had to translate for him but he would talk and then theyd translate. Did you know elder anderson speaks spanish? Pretty neat huh? So the three sessions were great and president bautista got to be in the celestial room for the last session. His wife told us this morning it was really neat and that they got to meet president uchtdorf and his wife. A very exciting weekend for xela ju:) I don't think I fully appreciate what it means for these people to have their own temple here, but they are very grateful and many were very emotional at the dedication. Many of these people traveled from here to mesa arizona with beans and bread... all by foot. They are truly pioneers! We are so very blessed to be so close to the temples here.Anyway hopefully you enjoy the pictures... time is up unfortunately!! I love you all so much and cant wait to talk to you on christmas. zach and karli ENJOY YOUR CRUISE! Zach CONGRATS ON GRADUATION!!!! How exciting that you are going to finish!!! Very proud of you! Thank you so much for all the packages you have all sent! I will make sure and let you all know when I get them. Training is going good, we are doing well and have our first baptism this weekend!!! Cecilia! She is very prepared... last night we taught her the law of chastity and her drunk neighbor and wife came over to join us and lets just say words cant describe how interesting that lesson was haha. But cecilia accepted and we are pretty much set for her baptism. I cant wait to send pics of her and her little boy... he is adorable and his name is jordy:) Loved that!!! I LOVE YOU ALL!!! Have a great week and cant wait to hear from you next week!Love, Hna nelson


Hola family... time has flown by me today so forgive the spelling and mistakes that might follow because i need to be fast!
This was a great week! Carlos and luki are building an extra room in their house so we helped them to dig the holes for the 2x4s. In case you were all wondering yes we used machetes... a big knife... to dig these holes. It really makes you appreciate how blessed we are in the states with our equipment and house building machinery. It was actually really fun and nice to be in pants for a little while. I was SO sore the next day!! From sitting funny for so long and because the next day... we walked NINE MILES!!!!! Yes that is right nine miles... and would you like to know what we have to show for it? NOTHING! haha it was one of those days where we walked and walked and walked and didn't have a single lesson. So that stunk but thankfully hna smith and I tried to have good attitudes and our efforts payed off the next day!
The next day we had a cita with a sister named cecilia. She was a reference from the temple and came to church without us inviting her because we hadn't contacted her before that. We actually hadn't even recieved the contact yet. So we had a cita with her and two years ago her mom and her 11 year old son were baptized. They arent active any more, but she never had the lessons because of her work. But now she is very prepared... her husband was murdered about 6 months ago and it has been really hard for her but we challenged her to baptism and she ACCEPTED! YEAH! we have so much to teach her still but if all goes well she will be baptized on the 17th of dic. We were so excited for her. my excitement was diminished slightly at the end of our lesson though because she has neighbors that drink and they were screaming at each other. i dont know that the man actually hit the wife or the wall but more than anything it was an awakening moment for me. I wasn't scared at all because cecilia said they never bother her, but more I gained a great appreciation this week for the laws we have in the states protecting women. Another one of our investigators hna gupil, that lives by hna luki and carlos also gets beat by her husband. Hna luki told me this week that he hurts her all the time. they have the laws here too but they aren't enforced. it broke my heart finding out about hna gupil and it makes me terrified that the one time we found her husband in the house he hurt her because we told him we had stopped by with his wife before. That was an experience I will remember and I am determined to help however I can after my mission to help these women have better protection from their drunk husbands. SO SAD! The gospel can only help a willing heart and mind... but putting the date with cecilia was so great and I am so grateful hna smith and i could have that experience together.
We had another very prepared investigator but turns out that she is having the lessons with a different set of missionaries so she wont be our baptism but still great the power the temple had in helping these people feel the spirit.
We had a good lesson with luki and carlos this week too. We ended up having to explain to them about polygamy because a friend of theirs mentioned it and told them they refused to go to the temple because of it. I think we explained as well as we could and they told us they are really going to try and find out if it is true. We are trying to have the faith that they will accept it before the end of the year, because if they do we will be able to see them be sealed as a family in a year. If not heavenly father knows what they need.
I hope you all got to watch the devotional! IT was GREAT and I was so SO grateful to not only watch it but watch it in english. it is really hard to understand when they are doing the translation because I cant watch their lips. I loved all three messages and it was so fun to see the orchestra at temple square. I really want to audition for the orchestra when I get back. that would be such a neat experience. anyway, we had to have an investigator to be able to go and orginally hna mary told us her sister in law would come with us and at the last minute she backed out. hna mary didn't understand we couldnt go without her sister in law so she talked her mom into going. (none of them are members) we have a lesson with them tonight and we are hoping to teach her mom as well .
anyway my leaders are sitting here waiting for me to get off... just a quick list of things you could send me IF YOU HAVEN"T ALREADY SENT ME SOMETHING!!! If so DONT WORRY about it!
crest with scope... how i will miss that toothpaste while i am here
butterscotch chocolate chips and regular chocolate milk chocolate chips
candy... obviously:)
long sleeve cardigains... I could use some black ones or what ever other color... it is really cold at night and in the morning when we are studying
oxy clean... they don't sell it here and my white shirts could use some!
Thank you so much for your love! I lvoe you all an sorry for the short email this week . BUENA SUERTE JORDY!! Have fun dropping him off at the MTC I love you all and HAPPY DECEMBER! Christmas is almost here and we will get to talk on the phone! I LVOE YOU!
love, hna nelson

Training a norte :)

Hola mi familia!!

So big surprise of the week... not only am I training 12 weeks in to my mission but I am also training a north american, not a latina!!! Lets just say my nerves were very high when president announced that we would be companions but after our first week, things are going to be fantastic and I know we were supposed to be companions! Her name is Hna Smith. She is from Wyoming! She is giant (especially compared to me) :) and so sweet and loving! We are still in las flores so it was nice only having to train and not move areas as well like hna ramos. Hna ramos is in minerva which is really close to my area but is a different zone. Her new companion is Hna Pablo. They are both latinas. So that was the biggest surprise of how the sisters got assigned to their companions. There were three north americans and three latinas. Three latinas that are training and three north americans. me, hna morgan who was with me in the mtc and ccm and hna olsen (my grandma in the mission) So you'd think we would get the three latinas and the latinas would get the three north americans. Well God had a different plan than all of us were expecting! I got a norte an the other two nortes got a latina. Hna ramos got a latina and the other two latinas the nortes (I was convinced that hna ramos would have a latina because she has been told by her stake president and both presidente bautista and presidente lorenzana (previous mission pres) that learning english would be very important in her mission... God knows all though!) So that was a surprise and some of the sisters in the mission were really shocked when they saw I was not only training but training a north american. But I know I can do it and I know we are going to be great together!! Bring on the challenge:)

So this was a crazy week!!! A very crazy first week for Hna Smith for sure. We had to work in the temple every single day this past week. They were expecting about 80,000 people to come to the open house and the actual number!! 126,492! Crazy huh?? People are saying this open house was an even bigger success than el salvador because the open house here was only 2 weeks long and the open house there was 3 weeks long. SO that is pretty exciting! We had some very long nights this week and didn't get to bed until 11 or 1130 because we didn't even leave the temple until 10. So that was nuts. An elder actually pointed out the dark circles under my eyes the other day and congratulated me for working hard. My comment to hna ramos after he said that... he's never going to get married:) haha it was pretty funny, but I am sure he will learn on his mission:) It was really fun working at the temple though. We lost basically all our citas with people this week, but it was great being able to talk to people and teach them a little bit about the church. We also have been contacting references like CRAZY! Some of them aren't good references and others are great so we will see what success we can have from them.

So training is going well, it is surprising how easy it has been and I know so many of my experiences before my mission prepared me for this time. Hna Smith is PILAS! (spanish for getter done):) She talks to everyone and I love that about her. She isn't afraid to knock a door and has really amazing ideas. I have learned a lot from her so far and we are going to have agreat time together. I will probably eat significantly healthier with her because she is making sure I get all the basic food groups every day:) She loves cooking too so I am really excited to see what I can learn from her. This week will probably be a little more challenging because we will actually start working but she has a great attitude and is ready to work.

So luki and carlos went to the temple for a 3rd time!! I was so happy for them! We have a cita with them tonight and I am hoping we will finally get over the hurdle we have had. Hopefully they have continued reading from the book of mormon and felt the spirit in the temple! So we shall see. We also contacted into a really great family. They have a lot of money and are really nice. The husband is an inactive member of the church but he still believes in the church and we are going to start teaching his wife and kids and maybe they will join and help their family become active members. They work at a spanish school here (there are a bunch of spanish schools here. People will come for a month and only focus on learning spanish) and their schools has a lot of humanitarian projects and if I have the money I would love to come back after my misison and work for their school. Tha would be really fun and their school is a non-profit organization which is great too. So we will see what happens with them. I am very grateful for the open house and that we have a lot of people to contact and hopefully who will become new investigators.

Anyway, this was a good and fun week. I am loving my time with Hna Smith and training is going well. Walking a bunch always and enjoying the life of a misisonary. I am so grateful to be here in guatemala and when I think of all the people I have met so far, I am so grateful for being sent here to this place. It is amazing how much my spanish understanding has jumped without having hna ramos to rely on. The gift of tounges is real for SURE and I am so grateful for it. I hope everyone had a fantastic thanksgiving and that you enjoyed some orange rolls and turkey for me. We went to Emilianos (our restaurant) and they gave us an amazing dinner for thanksgiving after we finished in the temple that day so that was fantastic. We have two sisters that live pretty close to us and I think we will probably spend a lot of time with them. Hna Harvey and Hna Silva... Hna Harvey came with Hna Smith so I know it is very helpful for here when we spend time together. Anyway, time has again come and gone:) I love you all so much and miss and pray for you always!! Happy first of december this week and Jordy! BUENA SUERTE ESTA SEMANA! LA MISION ES FANTASTICO! ESTOY EMOCIONADA PARA TI! LES QUIERO MUCHO!!

Training anyone??

Hola mi querido familia! How is everyone doing? I hope fantastic! This was a week of CHANGES!! First off... none of you will guess but I will be a trainer these next two transfers.. AHHHHHH! haha there are like 10 missionaries from my group that will be training the incoming missionaries and I am one of them. I am more nervous about her being a north american and spanish not being so great for her. I understand the majority but there are still moments when I have no idea what the person is saying. (the worst is on the phone..) There are thankfully only 3 sisters coming in that don't speak spanish... 9 in total. Hna Ramos will also be training and she will be moving to an area called minerva. I will stay in my area (las flores) and unless something strange happens I will be there for another 3 months. The church has come out with a new training program where the new missionaries train for 12 weeks and have 2 hours of companion study every day. I love it and I am excited I will be able to continue that. PLEASE PRAY FOR ME THIS WEEK!! I am excited but nervous because of the responsibility but I know that Heavenly Father wouldn't have me train if he didn't think I could do it! So we are going for it!! We also had another exiting good lesson with Luki and Carlos... really good lesson! We had a meeting with President tuesday and he gave a great lesson and we wanted to apply what he taught us. So we planned really thouroughly and amazingly enough we saw the benefits!!! Luki has been having tests to see if she has cancer in her uterus. We didn't know anything about this thought. So, up until Tuesday this past week all the results were bad and she was really scared that she has cancer and was going to die before seeing her children grow up. She has been super stressed about this and has been praying for positive results of these tests as well as an answer that this church is where she needs to be. Tuesday during the day, she finally got back test results that were completely positive and she is clear of all the bad things. Then Tuesday night we went through the temple with them and it was AMAZING! The guides didn't say anything about the mirrors in the sealing room so I explained it to Carlos. We didn't end up going back with them because of another story that is to come:) anyway, we went back the next day and had A FANTASTIC LESSON! Luki didn't notice the mirrors but she said it was so powerful imaging her family in the temple being sealed for eternity. It was so funny because when I asked her if she had received an answer about the book of mormon and the church she told me no. Then after telling us her test results were good and she knew god answered her prayer... I testified to her that perhaps that was the answer she was looking for. I then shared with her the experience I had when I found out somebody was going to pay for my mission. I assured her I never once asked that some stranger could pay for my mission, but that that was the answer heavenly father gave me to my prayers and the prayers of many others. I told her that God doesn't always answer our prayers in the way we expect. Carlos also read in the book of mormon this week which is huge for him. I am praying they will be baptized in the next few weeks so that I can see them sealed in the temple before I go home... can you believe I am already almost down to just 1 year??? If they don't get baptized before the new year, I wont be here when they get sealed! Too crazy how fast time has flown by! I love this family and hope and pray that they will accept the gospel and make this change in their life. Their children are in classes to get their confirmation in the catholic church and all of them are so excited to finish so they can start going to church with us. I don't remember if i told you but Daira... the youngest bawls when she can't go to church. ADORABLE!!So back to the reason why we didn't go home with them! So there were two buses that took people from our ward to the temple tuesday. We were in the second and a cute old man that we visit every week was in the first. He doesn't hear well at all and can barely walk. He is so sweet and we think of him as our grandpa:) Anyway, organization isn't the strongest here in guatemala. When Hno fransisco (our grandpa) finished going through the temple, somebody parked his wheelchair and left him. He ofcourse got up and walked away... ended up getting on a wrong bus and was VERY far away when the bus driver told everybody to get off. Thank heavens somebody who knows him found him and took him home. But meanwhile we were looking EVERYWHERE for him! In the temple, the temple grounds, security people were looking for him in all the buses that were there (30 or so!) and nobody could find him. Mission rules say we should be in the house around 830 or so... we didn't get home until about 1045 looking for him! We didn't even know but the man who was helping us is a member of the 70... elder morales. Look him up:) haha it was crazy and we were SO SO thankful we found him before something really bad happened. We saw him the next day and he basically told us... what is up with you losing me?? it was pretty funny! So fun fact of the week... I ran into some people from Kurrville TX (however you spell it) they weren't members of the church but I told them that Zach served his mission there and it was fun seeing them... the man was shocked I'd heard of Kurrville and that I had been there... pretty funny. We met them in a shop that sells typical things... the owner is SO nice and gives the missionaries a huge discount. I will always buy things from him while I can! So we are receiving many references for the temple. We spend about three hours looking for one to find out it is outside of our area... LAME! But two of the references we have found are really positive and I am SO excited to teach them. It is so amazing the power the temple has and I am so thankful I have the opportunity to be here during the open house. It is so fun inviting people and talking to people afterwards how they felt. This week a woman said in her comments... your temple is beautiful but the way that you received my family is a true testament that this church has something different. That was amazing... another family told me... we want to be members of your church! it was amazing! As usual though, there are protestors here! I am always amazed at the efforts and money they use to try and convice people we are an evil church... pretty funny actually. Anyway, they are below where all the buses go so the majority of the people don't even pass them which is good. I told the tistoj family that that is how it is every year at general conference. Thankfully they aren't really having to great of an affect on the people visiting here. So yesterday was our stake conference and it was SO good! They apparently started this new thing where they broadcast the stake conference from Utah. So we got to hear from elder holland and president Uckdorf (don't know how to spell it) that was really fun and I got to watch it in english which is always a treat! We still don't know if we will get to go to the dedication but I am hoping and praying!! So we will see! Mom when will the gilbert temple get dedicated? I was thinking the other day and I am SO SO excited for it! BECAUSE I am pretty sure I will get home before hand AND I will be able to be the tour guide that translates for all the latinos! I am SO excited for that!! Let me know when it is k? I met somebody in the temple from Gilbert... I don't know who he is or anything but it was fun to tell him I have family there.So I told Zach and Karli but just so you know:) I sent some things home for Christmas for you all with a north american man that was here visiting. Don't worry mom, I only bought the things and didn't have to pay to send them. DON"T OPEN ANYTHING UNTIL CHRISTMAS!! OR ELSE:) I hope you all enjoy your guatemala gifts. Tell Beau not to worry, I will send some things for his country report with another north american who is coming and told me he could take stuff home too. What a blessing that there are SO SO many people here for the open house and dedication of the temple! Anyway, I love you all and we will see the next week who my brand new to the mission, new to me companion is. I am praying for a latina so that I can continue improving my spanish and so that when I don't understand anything she can help me:) I hope I can tell you that Luki and Carlos commit to a set date in my next email. Prayers are very much appreciated:) I love you so much and pray for you all the time!!! Until next week!Love, Hna Nelson

I LOVE to see the temple:)

Hola familia otra vez:)

SO frustrating! I just spent like 30 minutes trying to figure out what was happening with my memory card. I let a family borrow my camera last night and they did something to my memory card... thankfully my other adapter is working so you will get pictures of the temple:)

Anyway this was a good week! It started out BAD! For the first time I got so sick this past Monday! At first I was worried it was something I ate but I felt much better by wednesday so I think one of our neighbors little boys got me sick. After we bought groceries and shoes for the temple (they have to be polished and none of my shoes can be polished...) We went home and sadly spent our pday at home... me in bed and hna ramos at our table writing letters or something. I got up at 6 when we were supposed to start working for the day. Another family had made me a birthday cake so I somehow ate that and then we went to another families house and they tried giving me cake too and this time I said no, knowing I'd throw it up. So i took it home to have it later.

The next day I felt better but still not so hot so I stayed in bed until we had to leave for our district meeting. I felt better but was way tired and exhausted!!

By wednesday back to normal thank heavens!!! I do NOT want to be sick like that again! We had a great lesson with Luki and her kids. carlos wasn't there and in the end she told us she knows the church is true and that she needs to be baptized.. .but her doubts are holding her back. We are really pushing her for this saturday, even if it is just her so we will see! My inner personality is doubtful but I am trying so hard to have the faith that she will be baptized. We had a lesson with carlos as well the next day and he is very doubtful. We watched a video about temples and he didn't realize it says in the bible that people were baptized for the dead. I am always amazed at the things that were likely removed from the bible when it was changed in the past and the things that weren't removed. the verse that talks about baptisms for the dead is very short and simple but powerful for those who think we are locos for baptizing those who have died. Carlos and Luki went through the temple friday and we haven't had a chance to visit them yet but I hope and pray it was an amazing experience for them.

So friday and saturday we were in the temple. Friday from 12-530 or so and saturday from 6 am to 6 pm. LONG DAY! At first I was SO nervous to talk to the people but once I got over that all was well and such an amazing experience!

The temple is AMAZING!! I can't even describe in words how very beautiful it is! It is covered in mayan patterns and it is the only temple in the world that has that. So that is really neat! Also... fun fact! Did you know that the mesa temple is very dear to the hearts of the people here? Before the temple in guatemala city was built the mesa az temple was the closest temple. Many people here sacrificed A LOT to be able to go to the temple. So that is neat and the arquitects wanted to include something special from the mesa temple in the xela temple. For those of you who have done baptisms in the mesa temple, remember the foto of joseph smith getting baptized? I learned the mesa temple is or was the only temple in the world that has that painting. The xela temple has it now too and I LOVE IT! It is gorgeous. The other image in the baptismal room is the one when christ appears to the nephites in the americas. SO BEAUTIFUL! The temple is constructed with special kind of stone. This stone absorbs mold and dirt (no idea how!) and it is huge here because with the rainy season the building would be green the first year! So they are expecting around 80,000 visitors in the open house... Saturday ALONE they had at least 26,000 people come! It was CRAZY!! But so fun to see how many people were there to enjoy this beautiful temple. Our first day there, when we got on the bus to go home, we were so excited about the open house that we invited every person on the bus:) It was really funny and I did it... in spanish! haha no idea if it was all correct but still amazing! My ward will be going to the temple tomorrow so we will get to go through again tomorrow and then we will be working in the temple friday and saturday this weekend so that is fantastic!

Just two really neat stories of non members going through. I didn't talk to either of them but these were their comments after they went through. The first was a man who when he was in the baptismal font he felt somebody touch his shoulder. When he turned around there wasn't anyone there... he was the last person in the room and through this experience he wrote he knew this was the house of god. Another person wrote on their card that the night before entering the temple they had offered a prayer to heavenly father that they could receive some sort of sign. Then the next day they entered the temple and said on their comment card that they received it when they were in the temple. SO amazing! I am so thankful for the power of the temple and pray that we will get a lot of references from the open house! It is so beautiful!! The open house goes until the 26th of November and the dedication is the 10th of December. We still don't know if we get to go... I am hoping and praying but we will see. President Ukdorf will come to dedicate it and I am also praying he will want to talk to the missionaries:) So we will see!

Other than that, missionary news is a bit boring. This week with me being sick, the temple and the majority of citas following through wasn't much of a successful week, but hopefully this week will be better and we will start getting references from the temple! Changes are this week.... AHHHH! I am pretty nervous! Normally they happen on tuesdays but this week with the open house and the sisters working in the temple, president wants everybody moved Sunday. If I get transfered to an area that is supposed to work next monday I might not be able to email. I have no idea at this point, but if you don't get anything from me you know why. We will find out saturday or friday and then need to be in our new areas sunday. It is a horrible feeling not having any idea where I will be in a week... everyone assures me I will get used to it... so we will see! I feel like I am going to get transfered and hna ramos will stay in our area but who knows!!! I think president is going to move a bunch of things around so we shall see!

Hopefully you enjoy the pics and the short info about the temple! Have a great week and hopefully we will talk monday... I love you all! Be safe and look for me in the church news:) haha just kidding but there are tons of publicity people here and I imagine they will have some sort of article in the church news. Anyway I LOVE YOU!

Love, Hna Nelson